Vodafone NZ demos 5G with Nokia

Nokia and Vodafone NZ are demonstrating a series of use cases across a 5G network this week in Auckland using the networking giant's platforms.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Vodafone NZ has announced a 5G trial in partnership with networking giant Nokia, with the two companies showcasing use cases and implementations in Auckland this week.

The companies trialled a 5G connection at Vodafone NZ's Innov8 Auckland headquarters across the millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum band, with CEO Russell Stanners saying they will next experiment with 5G across 3.5GHz.

Nokia -- which is also working with Vodafone Germany to deploy a 4G network to the moon next year -- is providing its AirScale and Airframe platforms for the 5G trial, with the system connected to a device using third-party chipsets.

"As a leading global mobile player, Vodafone has been actively involved in leading and shaping the 5G evolution from the beginning, with trials and partnerships under way across the world," Stanners said.

"Vodafone will continue to be at the forefront of the development of 5G, and with our Kiwi ingenuity we will be working hard to bring our customers the latest developments in 5G as soon as they become available."

The 5G use cases on demonstration by Vodafone NZ and Nokia this week include virtual reality (VR) applications, a League of Legends gaming tournament being broadcast to Twitch across 5G connectivity, and low-latency robots.

Stanners said the exhibition is "about showcasing how we can easily evolve our existing 4G and 4G+ networks to 5G".

"As 5G is an incremental upgrade to our existing mobile network, these services will be deployed throughout New Zealand in both urban and rural settings -- opening up a world of possibility for digital innovation everywhere," the chief executive said.

Nokia Oceania head Zoltan Losteiner told ZDNet that Mobile World Congress (MWC) last month proved that 5G is becoming a reality, and that Nokia will continue providing the technologies to enable telcos across the globe to roll out 5G networks.

"This trial with Vodafone is further evidence of the significant building momentum. We see a high level of 5G readiness in New Zealand and Australia," Losteiner said.

"There is a good understanding of the industrial transformation that is emerging in areas like agriculture and public safety, and how existing 4G networks can evolve to support new capabilities, delivering higher performance while improving efficiency.

"Nokia technology, such as our AirScale and Airframe platforms, and ultra-small, high-performance ReefShark chipset, is leading the market and opening the way to rapid network evolution and the expected launch of 5G services within the next two to three years."

Nokia announced its 5G ReefShark chipset in January, saying it would allow telcos to upgrade their networks to support 5G. The chipset triples capacity to 84Gbps and makes use of the 3GPP 5G standards set in December last year.

The ReefShark chipsets can be used to plug in to its AirScale baseband, which is software upgradeable to 5G. Throughput of 6Tbps is then supported by using multiple AirScale modules with ReefShark.

ReefShark will be shipped by Q3 this year, with 30 carriers already using it, Nokia said in January.

Vodafone NZ is also working to deploy a narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network across New Zealand this year after trialling the technology in partnership with Nokia back in 2016.

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