The companies said they have successfully tested pre-standard 5G for the first time in the U.K.
Vodafone U.K. and Ericsson announced they have successfully tested standalone pre-standard 5G
using a prototype device in a central London 3.5 GHz spectrum field trial.
The two companies said the 5G trial was carried out in partnership with academics at King’s
College London. The partners also said that this is the first trial of its kind in the UK.
Vodafone said that this trial if part of a wider initiative to continue testing 5G technology and
evaluate opportunities to provide better services to consumers and businesses prior to its
commercial deployment from 2020.
During the trial, engineers were able to showcase a number of technologies at King’s College
London, including massive MIMO. The technology, which is already being deployed by Vodafone in
its network, uses multiple antennae to send and receive data more efficiently to boost capacity
where lots of people connect to the network at the same time, the telco said.
The project is also aggregating different bands of mobile spectrums across the U.K to increase
capacity and boost data speeds.
“We’re delighted to be the first provider to test standalone 5G in the field, however, building a 5G
network will take time. Right now, we’re also modernizing our network by making smarter use of our
existing mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile
coverage our customers deserve,” Vodafone U.K head of networks Kye Prigg, said.
“5G also needs fiber optic cables. Together with CityFibre, we will soon start work installing the
advanced fiber networks providing high-capacity backhaul connections required for 5G mobile
services,” the executive added.
“This is a live trial in a densely populated central London urban area and the first time in the UK that
we’ve been able to show pre-standard 5G working independently. We remain committed to
advancing 5G development in the U.K, working closely with leading operators and ecosystem
players to enable global scale and drive the industry in one common direction,” said Marielle
Lindgren, Head of Ericsson in the U.K and Ireland.
In June, Vodafone U.K. selected the Swedish vendor for the provision of 5G Radio technology
to pave the way for the introduction of 5G in the region. Under the terms of this agreement, Ericsson will also to use technologies such as Massive MIMO and carrier aggregation to upgrade Vodafone’s
4G networks in London and southern England.
At that time, Ericsson and Vodafone have signed a memorandum of understanding covering the
following areas of collaboration:
- 4G evolution, 5G radio non-standalone and standalone;
- 5G site deployment scenarios;
- NR simulations: 3.5 GHz and mmWave;
- 5G use-cases: business case study and proof of concept;
- Distributed cloud and network slicing proof of concept: end-to- end latency and cloud- optimized network applications;
- Collaboration with King’s College London.
Other telecoms operators are also getting ready to launch 5G services in the UK. Last month,
operator BT, network infrastructure provider Nokia and the University of Briston have announced a
live proof of concept (PoC) based on the 5G standard to test and validate smart urban applications
over next-generation mobile networks in Bristol.
The PoC will use research expertise from the University of Bristol, as well as 5G network solutions
and radio access points from Nokia combined with spectrum from BT.
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