Ericsson, Qualcomm and Vodafone have announced they are working together to test 5G interoperability and conduct an over-the-air field trial in the UK based on 5G New Radio (NR) specifications being developed in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

The companies have said the aim of the trial is to drive the mobile ecosystem towards validation of 5G NR technologies, which will then “enable operators to test 3GPP standard compliant 5G NR infrastructure and devices at scale”.

The trial will showcase 5G NR technologies that utilise wide bandwidths to increase network capacity and achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates.

5G will be applicable to both existing licensed bands and new bands below 6GHz, and will be vital to provide the level of connectivity required by mobile broadband experiences, such as cloud services.

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

“Standardisation of this technology will help deliver high performing 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.”

The trial will utilise 5G system solutions as well as Ericsson and Qualcomm devices to demonstrate real-world scenarios across a broad set of use cases and deployment situations.

It will make use of advanced 3GPP 5G NR technologies including Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology, adaptive self-contained TDD, beamforming techniques, scalable OFDM-based waveforms to support wider bandwidths, advanced coding and modulation schemes, and a new flexible framework design.

The 3GPP 5G NR standard-based interoperability testing and trials will start in the second half of this year.

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