22 August 2016
The arrival of next-generation 5G networks has moved a step closer after BT and Nokia announced a new research collaboration agreement.
The two companies have agreed to work together on potential customer use cases for 5G technologies, the creation of 5G proof of concept (PoC) trials and the development of the emerging technology standards and equipment.
The trials will focus on the technology enablers for 5G including mmWave (millimeter wave or ultra-high frequency wave) radio and convergence, as well as potential commercial services including ultrafast mobile broadband and the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).
Integrating the best capabilities of fixed and mobile networks, 5G has the potential to deliver levels of connectivity which surpass today’s 4G technologies.
It will offer greatly improved ultrafast speeds to mobile users – for example, the ability to download a full-length feature movie in just seconds.
The speed and flexibility offered by 5G would be able to support new business and consumer services based on IoT, including connected cars, smart cities and remote health monitoring applications.
Howard Watson, chief executive of BT Technology, Service & Operations, said: “It’s still early days for 5G technology, but experience tells us that a collaborative approach is key to success. We’re delighted to be working with Nokia to drive a common approach to 5G, and to develop exciting use cases which bring together our combined experience in fixed and mobile technologies.”
Cormac Whelan, head of the UK & Ireland at Nokia, said: “5G is the communications technology of the future, and it will transform how we communicate with each other, as well as communicate with devices and ‘things’.”
As a first step in the collaboration, Nokia is currently conducting trials of its latest 5G-ready radio equipment at the BT Labs at Adastral Park, Suffolk.
This radio system demonstrates key 5G technology ingredients that are currently in standardisation running on Nokia’s AirScale radio access, including an entirely new 5G frame structure and 4 x 100MHz carrier aggregation.
Although best known for its work on fibre-optic and broadband technologies, the BT Labs have played a major role in the development of wireless data services, and were the location for the first trial of GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) data calls - the precursor to today’s 3G and 4G data services.