Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies and SK Telecom have unveiled plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on 5G New Radio (NR) standards being developed based on specifications in 3GPP.
The interoperability testing and trials, which will launch in Korea starting in the second half of 2017, are intended to track closely with, as well as help accelerate, the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15 - the global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands.
Tracking the 3GPP specification is important, according to the companies, because it promotes adherence and validation with the global 5G standard, accelerating the time to standard-compliant devices and infrastructure. It will also drive forward compatibility to future 3GPP 5G NR releases.
In the trials, the companies say they will showcase new 5G NR technologies, which utilise wide bandwidths available at higher frequency bands to increase network capacity and achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates.
It is argued that these technologies will be critical to meeting the increasing consumer connectivity requirements for emerging consumer mobile broadband experiences such as virtual reality, augmented reality and connected cloud services.
Additionally, the proliferation of 5G NR technology can make it more cost-effective and easier for multi-gigabit Internet service to reach more homes and businesses, the companies claim.
The trials will employ 3GPP 5G NR Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques to deliver ‘robust and sustained mobile broadband communications’ at higher frequency bands, including non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments and device mobility.
It will also make use of scalable OFDM-based waveforms and a new flexible framework design that are also part of the 5G NR specifications. The trials are expected to yield valuable insight into the unique challenges of integrating 5G NR technologies into mobile networks and devices.
Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies, said: "The roadmap of 5G technologies is incredibly complex, and trials based on the global 3GPP 5G standard, such as this, are critical to continuing our long history of leadership integrating advanced wireless technologies in form-factor accurate devices to ensure timely deployment of 5G networks."
"As 5G rapidly gains momentum, a globally agreed and unified standard becomes imperative to achieve early commercialisation of 5G and build an efficient ecosystem around it," said Alex Jinsung Choi, EVP, chief technology officer, SK Telecom.
"As 3GPP NR is a global 5G standard, we are delighted to announce early 3GPP NR trials with leading 5G players, Ericsson and Qualcomm, with which we have made remarkable world's first footprints in the past with previous generations of groundbreaking mobile technologies."
"5G is the greatest opportunity our industry has ever experienced. It will enable operators to move into new markets and build new revenue streams with radically new business models and use cases," said Ulf Ewaldsson, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Ericsson.
"This important 5G standard-based trial collaboration will demonstrate compliance to 3GPP and support the accelerated commercialization of the global 3GPP 5G standard. On the road to 5G, Ericsson is working with leading operators and ecosystem players to enable innovative use cases on a global scale."