BT and Nokia to collaborate on 5G

Image: hh5800 via iStock

BT and Nokia have signed a research collaboration agreement to work together on 5G technologies.

According to industry experts, 5G will offer more than just an advancement of 4G technology. It is expected to speed up data transfer, reduce response times and provide the capacity for the future connection of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The GSM Association (GSMA) created a list of criteria for 5G. In order for a network connection to be considered 5G, it should meet most of the requirements set out.

These include 1-10Gbps connections to end points in the field, 1 millisecond end-to-end round trip delay, 1000x bandwidth per unit area, 10-100x number of connected devices, 99.999 per cent availability, 100 per cent coverage, a 90 per cent reduction in network energy usage and up to ten-year battery life for low power devices.

BT said it had agreed to work with Nokia on customer use cases, proof of concept (PoC) trials and developing the emerging technology equipment.

The trials are set to focus on the technology enablers mmWave radio and convergence as well as commercial services, including ultrafast mobile broadband and the IoT. The companies are targeting rates of multiple gigabits and speeds of one millisecond.

BT said that these speeds would result in “truly real-time engagement between remote users and systems,” which, they added, would be necessary for technological advancements such as connected driverless cars.

5G is expected to help these vehicles avoid accidents by receiving notifications by sensors positioned on the roads. It is intended that driverless cars will also be able to use 5G networks to find parking spots and work out the ideal route to the end destination.

The increased speeds of 5G networks will allow these driverless cars to perform instant actions, such as braking, which is expected to increase safety.

Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service and 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.”

Pointing out the importance of developing this technology, Cormac Whelan, head of Nokia UK and Ireland, added: “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’.”

Nokia is currently conducting trials of its latest 5G-ready radio equipment at the BT Labs at Adastral Park, a science campus based in Suffolk.

This radio system demonstrates key 5G technology elements that are currently in standardisation running on Nokia’s AirScale radio access. This includes a new 5G frame structure and 4 x 100MHz carrier aggregation.

The new agreement will build on the existing relationship between the two companies. Nokia currently supplies BT’s 21C Core Routing Platform as well as the BT/EE subscriber register infrastructure and part of the EE Radio Access Network.