Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies took a step toward 5G New Radio by demonstrating 5G NR interoperability between infrastructure and devices.
The testing successfully linked a commercially available Nokia AirScale base station and prototype 5G New Radio devices from Qualcomm. The tests, which were conducted at a Nokia facility in Oulu, Finland, complied with the 3GPP’s NR Release 15 standard, which was confirmed last December.
The announcement signals that development and eventual deployment seems to be on schedule. “The successful completion of an end-to-end interoperable connection based on the global 5G NR standard is a significant step on the path to launching 5G NR commercial networks and devices starting in 2019,” said Cristiano Amon the president of Qualcomm Incorporated, in a press release. “We look forward to further collaboration on standard-compliant field trials with Nokia and global operators on the path to commercialization.”
BT/EE, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, KT, LGU+, NTT DOCOMO, Optus, SKT, Telia and Vodafone Group plan to verify and test 5G with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies.
The standard to which the equipment complies is something of an interim. It enables enable 5G functionality on LTE-based networks. Much of the promise of 5G requires new technologies, and none are as ambitious as the use of very high (mmWave) frequencies. The reality that much development must be done is complicated by the fact that 5G has been heavily hyped and on-time – if not early – deployments are important. That makes the announcement noteworthy.
“These tests by Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies are important to the progress of 5G. Importantly, they demonstrate how we have quickly applied the 3GPP Release 15 specifications that were set in December, using our AirScale base station – which has been shipped to more than 100 customers – together with a prototype Qualcomm Technologies UE,” said Marc Rouanne, the President of Nokia Mobile Networks in the press release. “Now, we can look forward to commencing standards-based, over-the-air 5G NR trials with operators.”