Finnish vendor Nokia has been selected by US Cellular for the deployment of the latter’s Standalone 5G core network.
The European vendor said that the 5G SA deployment is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The new 5G SA network infrastructure will enable the U.S. operator to deliver the high speeds and low latencies that will power new applications such as virtual and augmented reality, Nokia said.
US Cellular’s deployment of Nokia’s 5G core adds to its existing support for the Radio Access Network (RAN) where Nokia is supplying its AirScale radios for both low-band and mmWave 5G.
Ericsson and Samsung also provide 5G RAN equipment to US Cellular.
Mike Irizarry, EVP and CTO at US Cellular, said: “As we continue to expand and enhance our 5G network, we value the innovation and support that Nokia provides to help us deliver a superior wireless experience to our residential and business customers. As we deploy 5G SA core, Nokia brings expertise, technology excellence and the right mix of hardware, software and services to meet our requirements for high performance and low latency.”
Ed Cholerton, President of Nokia North America, said: “We are thrilled to be selected by US Cellular to deliver a full 5G experience to its customers. Our 5G SA core and 5G radios provide not only new capabilities, scale, operational efficiencies, and revenue opportunities, but drive a far better user experience that customers expect. Working with UScellular to provide the core network function software and cloud infrastructure continues our momentum in the North American standalone 5G core market.”
Nokia explained that its 5G SA core is a cloud-native architecture with network functions deployed as microservices that can be moved to the network edge to meet low latency requirements for software-driven services, like network slicing.
Nokia has already deployed over 250 cloud core networks and over 70 5G standalone core networks.
US Cellular had previously achieved a new record in partnership with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies. In a trial conducted on the carrier’s commercial network in Grand Island, Nebraska, the three companies achieved an extended range connection over 5G mmWave of more than 10 kilometers, after testing multiple locations and scenarios and measuring distance, throughput and latency.
The trial utilized Nokia’s AirScale Baseband and mmWave Radios in the 28 GHz (n261) band and Qualcomm’s Fixed Wireless Access Platform gen 1, which the company said enables mobile operators address connectivity gaps in under and unserved communities.
Fixed Wireless Access, or FWA, is a method of providing wireless connectivity to homes and businesses through radio links between two fixed points without the need for fiber and cables for last mile connectivity.
In addition to the approximately 10 km distance achieved by the trials, the companies also recorded an average downlink speeds of about 1 Gbps, and uplink speeds reaching approximately 57 Mbps.
US Cellular had activated its first 5G markets in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin in early 2020.