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Qualcomm and Ericsson partner on 5G NR for Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo

Qualcomm and Ericsson will conduct 5G new radio trials with Vodafone in the second half of 2017 and NTT DoCoMo in the first half of 2018 using Massive MIMO, beamforming, and mmWave spectrum.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have announced that they will be conducting 5G new radio (NR) trials over the networks of telecommunications operators Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo in an effort to speed the commercialisation of 5G network technology.

The two 5G NR trials were announced on Monday by Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

"We are very happy to announce this morning new 5G new radio trials with NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, and Telstra," Ekholm said.

"5G goes beyond the regular operator business; it's a business revolution. And I think it's a way for our customers to increase their relevance yet again."

The trial with NTT DoCoMo in Japan will take place in the first half of 2018, utilising the mid-band 4.5GHz spectrum in addition to 28GHz millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum using 3GPP Release 15 standards on Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) antenna technology, which ends multiple channels of data at the same time, allowing users to have peak performances simultaneously; beam forming technology, in which antenna arrays steer a beam to where a user is; adaptive self-contained time-division duplex (TDD) technology; scalable OFDM-based waveforms for wider bandwidths; advanced coding and modulation; and a low-latency slot structure design.

Prototype devices from Qualcomm and prototype base station solutions from Ericsson will be used over NTT DoCoMo's trial network environment, with the expectation of achieving multi-gigabit per second data rates and low latency.

"NTT DoCoMo plans to deploy a 5G NR commercial system by 2020, and it is essential that the industry cooperate closely to create a 5G ecosystem in a timely manner," said NTT DoCoMo CTO Seizo Onoe.

"Through acceleration of the standardisation and standard-compliant 5G NR trial activities, we will ensure the highly stable 5G services."

The trials in the United Kingdom with Vodafone will take place in the second half of 2017 across the sub-6GHz bands, also using Massive MIMO, beam forming, adaptive self-contained TDD, scalable OFDM-based waveforms, waveforms for wider bandwidths, advanced coding and modulation, and a new framework design.

"The demonstration of the 5G standard in sub-6GHz bands is an important step forward in the development of 5G," said Vodafone director of technology, architecture, and strategy Matt Beal.

"Standardisation of this technology will help deliver high-3performing and reliable 5G mobile networks with global coverage. A common standard also promises to deliver the economies of scale, which will help drive adoption of the technology in consumer devices and the internet of things."

Ericsson and Qualcomm will also be conducting 5G NR trials with Telstra in Australia, which will see the companies conduct interoperability testing and an over-the-air field trial using the current 5G NR specifications provided by 3GPP during the second half of 2017.

For the Australian trial, they will use mmWave spectrum technologies at higher-frequency bands to increase network capacity and allow for multi-gigabit speeds across the 28GHz, 39GHz, and sub-6GHz spectrum bands, as well as MIMO antenna technology along with beam forming and beam tracking, Ericsson senior VP and chief strategy and technology officer Ulf Ewaldsson said on Sunday.

"This development is a big step forward in 5G readiness," Telstra group managing director of Networks Mike Wright said.

"This collaboration between Telstra, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies will help ensure 5G is ready for the Australian environment, including making sure it is able to be scaled up for our vast distance and sparse population, as well as ensuring our customers will be among the first in the world to enjoy the benefits of 5G."

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