Nokia has announced the successful completion of a 5G New Radio (NR) data call, supported by 4G and 5G dual connectivity, as part of a project in China.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) 5G research and development trial saw Nokia perform a 3GPP-compliant call over the air using a 5G NR system on the 3.5GHz frequency band, and LTE in the 2.1 GHz frequency band.

This successful trial underlines the potential benefits of dual connectivity for existing 4G operators, as this method makes it easier to rapidly create 5G coverage and services by connecting 5G NR to a 4G radio linked to an existing Cloud Packet Core.

Nokia's test call made use of the Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN, Nokia AirScale baseband unit, Nokia 5G Massive MIMO Active Antenna, Nokia Cloud Packet Core and Nokia home subscriber service, together with a 5G end user equipment simulator provided by PRISMA Telecom Testing.

Successfully completing this call represents an important step toward the verification of 5G in the sub-6 GHz frequency bands, which is a necessary step if wide-area coverage and large-scale Internet of Things connectivity is to be achieved ahead of the planned commercial deployment of 5G in China in 2020.

The Asian superpower will be one of the first adopters of 5G, which is expected to make it possible for users to download HD videos in seconds, bring virtual reality experiences into the mainstream, connect billions of devices, and drive new levels of automation and AI advances.

Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks at Nokia, said: "Nokia is ready to support dual connectivity with the AirScale radio access portfolio, as it is upgradeable via software to 5G and provides single RAN support for 4G, 4.5G Pro and 4.9G as well as legacy technologies.

"As a result, we can help our customers meet their early 5G deployment schedules and initial coverage demands."

Nokia expects to continue its work with MIIT trialling 5G in the 4.9 GHz frequency bands throughout 2018.

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