MWC 2019: Nokia and Optus claim world’s first 3GPP 5G fixed-wireless service

Nokia and Optus say they will have 50 5G sites live by March, as the two use Nokia’s FastMile 5G indoor gateway.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has announced being the first carrier in the world to use Nokia's FastMile 5G indoor gateway across a live fixed-wireless 5G network.

The announcement, made ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona on Sunday, sees the deployment of Nokia technology on Optus' 3.5GHz band on its commercial 5G home broadband network.

With Verizon's October launch of 5G Home using proprietary standards rather than 3GPP release 15 specs, Optus and Nokia are also claiming the world's first live 5G fixed-wireless access network based on those global standards.

"Nokia has partnered with Optus to accelerate our preparations for 5G, and as a result we are first in the world to deliver live 5G NR FWA services using the Nokia's FastMile 5G Gateway," Optus CEO Allen Lew said in Barcelona.

Nokia's FastMile solution -- which supports both 5G and 4G with carrier aggregation for higher speeds -- has also been used by Optus to stream multiple 4K videos simultaneously to customers, which the companies called another world first.

Nokia and Optus said they will have 50 live 5G sites by March, including five already live. The network also uses Nokia's 5G NR radio solution including the 32T32R active antenna units and Aiscale Baseband.

For its 5G rollout in Australia, Optus is additionally working with Ericsson, with the two last week making an Australia-to-Singapore 5G augmented reality (AR) video call with Optus' parent company Singtel. 

The call was made using an Oppo prototype device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

Optus will use Ericsson to build 50 of its initial 5G sites over the next few months.

Earlier this month, Optus switched on its fifth 5G mobile tower, with 50 sites due to be online by March to provide coverage to 60 suburbs. Optus also plans to have 1,200 5G mobile sites live across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and Western Australia by March 2020.

5G Home Broadband on Optus will cost AU$70 per month for unlimited data at a 50Mbps minimum speed guarantee, and is slated to provide connectivity by the second quarter of 2019.

In explaining why Optus is working with both Nokia and Ericsson, Lew said the company will be taking a "multi-vendor approach" to its network. In an interview with ZDNet, Lew had denied the Huawei 5G ban had an impact on the rollout, saying that it neither slowed it down nor made equipment more expensive.  

On the smartphone side, Optus is working with all smartphone manufacturers, and expects to see 5G phones in the May/June window.

Ericsson and Oppo also signed a 5G deal earlier this week that will see them collaborate on 5G device testing and demonstrations, as well as 2G, 3G, and 4G patent cross-licensing, while Ericsson has also made updates and improvements across its 5G platform for carriers.

Related Coverage

MWC 2019: Ericsson and Intel demo 4G-5G spectrum sharing

Using Intel's 5G mobile trial platform and Ericsson's software, the two have proved they can run 4G and 5G traffic simultaneously on the same frequency carrier.

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.

Samsung launches RF chipsets for 5G base stations

Samsung's mmWave radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) and digital/analog front end (DAFE) ASICs supports 28GHz and 39GHz bands, which can reduce 5G base station size, weight, and power consumption by 25 percent.

HTC launches VIVE Focus Plus, a standalone enterprise VR system

Perhaps the biggest perk of the VIVE Focus Plus is that companies can easily port their PC VR based content to HTC's new system.

The cell phone industry looks to bounce back at MWC 2019

With the smart phone industry struggling as of late, it can be expected that MWC 2019 will produce all sorts of oddities to tempt buyers.

LG to unveil first 5G smartphone with Snapdragon 855 at MWC

LG's yet-to-be-named first 5G smartphone will be unveiled on February 24th at Mobile World Congress, sporting a Snapdragon 855 processor, a vapour chamber, and a 4,000 mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S10 lineup includes an upcoming 5G version.

Verizon's 5G network launch: What your business needs to know (TechRepublic)

Verizon will launch 5G in 30 cities this year, and both offices and remote workers stand to benefit.

Editorial standards