Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated and Nokia have announced plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on the 5G New Radio (NR) Release-15 specifications being developed by 3GPP. The testing and trials intend to drive the mobile ecosystem toward rapid validation and commercialization of 5G NR technologies at scale, enabling timely commercial network launches in 2019 based on 3GPP standard compliant 5G NR infrastructure and devices.
There is clear and growing industry interest for 5G mobility applications to meet increasing mobile broadband needs and emerging use case requirements globally. A recent 5G consumer survey conducted by Qualcomm Technologies revealed that 48% of the respondents are likely to purchase a smartphone that supports 5G when available Furthermore, 5G was the top feature that consumers were willing to pay more for in their next mobile device.
In the testing and trials, the companies will showcase 5G NR technologies to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates at latencies as low as 1-millisecond and significantly better reliability than today’s network, amongst other capabilities. These technologies will be critical to meeting the increasing connectivity requirements for emerging consumer mobile broadband experiences such as streaming high-fidelity video, immersive virtual/augmented reality, and connected cloud computing, as well as enabling new high-reliability, low-latency services for use cases such as autonomous vehicles, drones and industrial equipment. The companies also recently collaborated on a whitepaper, Making 5G a reality: Addressing the strong mobile broadband demand in 2019 & beyond, that details their shared vision for how 5G NR technologies will address the increasing mobile broadband needs and beyond starting in 2019.
Trials and tribulations
The testing and trials will utilise the Nokia 5G FIRST solution, incorporating the Nokia AirScale base station transmitting over the 5G NR radio interface to the device prototype from Qualcomm Technologies. The companies will test end-to-end applications over-the-air between the base station and the device to simulate real-world scenarios across a broad set of 5G NR use cases and deployment scenarios. The testing will include 5G NR operation in sub-6 GHz spectrum bands such as 3.5 GHz and 4.5 GHz, as well as millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands such as 28 GHz and 39 GHz, to trial the 5G NR unified design across diverse spectrum bands.
To demonstrate the performance and efficiency enhancements 5G NR will bring, the testing and trials will showcase advanced 3GPP 5G NR technologies including Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology, beamforming techniques, adaptive self-contained TDD, scalable OFDM-based waveforms to support wider bandwidths, advanced coding and modulation schemes, and a new flexible, low-latency slot structure based design. This will include 5G NR operation in mmWave spectrum, employing advanced 5G NR antenna technology to deliver robust and sustained mobile broadband communications, including non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments and device mobility.
“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to deliver the most compelling mobile broadband experiences based on 5G NR technology. We are making 5G a reality for mobile devices – including smartphones – from sub-6 GHz to millimeter wave – globally,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and president, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. “We are excited to collaborate with Nokia on trials based on the global 3GPP 5G standard, which are critical to ensure timely deployment of 5G networks.”
“The appetite for 5G technology is clear, amongst both consumers and communications service providers,” said Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks, Nokia. “We firmly share Qualcomm’s view that the demand for wide-scale mobile 5G is accelerating, and that is why we are so enthusiastic to work jointly with Qualcomm on developing and driving commercial technology and applications based on 5G NR using our 5G FIRST.”
The interoperability testing, which will start in the second half of 2017, is intended to track closely with the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15. The companies are also collaborating with network operators to conduct 5G NR over-the-air field trials starting in 2018 across various regions including China, Europe, Japan, and the USA. Tracking the 3GPP specification is important because it promotes adherence and validation with the global 5G standard, accelerating the time to standard-compliant devices and infrastructure. It will also ensure forward compatibility to future 3GPP 5G NR releases.