MWC 2019: NEC develops 5G baseband radio units

NEC has unveiled its 5G base station radio units ahead of Mobile World Congress 2019 this week.

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(Image: NEC)

NEC Corporation has announced developing radio units for 5G base stations, with the small, low-power units "ideal for 5G conditions".

Its products will fulfil the 5G requirements for a large number of small-coverage base station devices, the company said, amid the expected increase in traffic across the new mobile networks.

"NEC aims to drive the global expansion of 5G by contributing to ecosystems in radio access networks via interoperability testing between multiple vendors' equipment that is compliant with O-RAN fronthaul specifications," SVP of NEC Corporation Nozomu Watanabe explained.

The units work across the 3.7GHz, 4.5GHz, and 28GHz spectrum bands, therefore covering both sub-6GHz and millimetre-wave (mmWave) 5G deployments.

NEC is demonstrating its base station radio units during Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona, after last month partnering with Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo to use 5G to live stream 8K footage into a train.

"8K ultra-high-definition live video featuring a steam locomotive train was transmitted from a 5G base station installed along a railroad to a 5G mobile station located inside a running SL train and put on an 8K display," NEC said in January about the test conducted in November.

The test also streamed 4K content to passengers' 4G handsets via Wi-Fi from a 5G station on the train.

The NEC base stations used supported the 4.5GHz and 28GHz bands, with the test forming part of a Japanese government project to examine the outdoor use of 5G systems with average speeds of between 4Gbps and 8Gbps.

NEC had inked a 5G equipment supply deal with NTT DoCoMo in May 2018, with the Japanese telecommunications carrier planning to launch its new mobile network in 2020, after the two undertook verification experiments on 5G wireless technologies earlier that year.

Under the deal, NEC is providing control units for 5G base stations as well as using software upgrades to ensure NTT DoCoMo's existing base stations and telco equipment are compatible with 5G.

In October, NEC also announced a 5G partnership with Samsung.

"The partnership brings together the best-in-class technology and expertise in 5G, merging NEC and Samsung's leadership in 5G and IT solutions," the companies said at the time.

"It also provides mobile carriers with flexible 5G solutions that are localised for each region with customised services to meet mobile carriers' demands efficiently."

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