OnQ Blog

From hype to reality: Leading the way on global 5G NR trials to accelerate 5G

Feb 27, 2017

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

We have been inventing and designing the building blocks for 5G New Radio (NR) for many years now. 5G NR – the global 5G standard – will serve as a platform for innovation to an array of world-changing use cases in the next decade and beyond. But at the same time, 5G is urgently needed to meet ever-increasing global mobile broadband needs.

Consumers continue to devour more and more mobile data as our devices increasingly become the source for entertainment, deliver new immersive experiences and serve as our 24/7 connection to the cloud. Is 5G all hype and years from being a reality? Quite the contrary. This week, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it became crystal clear that the real 5G – 5G NR – is closer than you think. And just as we did in 3G and 4G, Qualcomm is leading the way.

To begin the week, Qualcomm and fellow mobile industry leaders including AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Vodafone, and Ericsson, led a coalition of companies announcing their commitment to accelerate 5G NR for wide-scale deployments starting in 2019. We are doing so to meet demand for the enhanced mobile broadband benefits of 5G NR in 2019, while continuing to address the larger vision for 5G NR in 2020 and beyond.

But accelerating 5G NR deployments requires much more than just an accelerated specification. It will require over-the-air trials and interoperability testing, compliant with that 5G NR 3GPP specification, to drive the ecosystem toward rapid commercialization at scale. And that brings me to our recent announcements on 5G NR trials and interoperability testing starting the second half of this year, collaborating with global mobile industry leaders.

Over the last two months, Qualcomm, in collaboration with Ericsson and ZTE, has announced 5G NR trials with AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telstra and Vodafone. The trials will operate in mid-band spectrum from 3.3 GHz to 5.0 GHz, as well as millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum at 28 GHz and 39 GHz, showcasing the unified 5G NR design across diverse spectrum bands.

In the trials, we will showcase 5G NR technologies to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates at significantly lower latency than today’s network, amongst other capabilities. These technologies will be critical to meeting the increasing connectivity requirements for emerging consumer mobile broadband experiences such as virtual reality, augmented reality and fiber-like cloud connectivity, as well as enabling new high-reliability, low-latency services for use cases such as autonomous vehicles, drones and industrial equipment.

The trials will utilize Qualcomm Research 5G NR prototype systems to simulate real-world scenarios across a broad set of use cases and deployment scenarios. And this is why the announcement we made last week regarding this prototype system is such a very significant industry milestone. We announced the first successful 3GPP-based 5G NR connection utilizing this prototype system. This is very different than many of the other 5G demos and tests that are filling the news. The live 5G NR demonstration, based on our Qualcomm Research 5G NR prototype system, is being showcased at our booth at MWC. It showcases several advanced technologies, such as advanced LDPC channel coding and adaptive self-contained TDD, based on key design decisions that have been made as part of the ongoing 5G NR 3GPP Study Item. This is a clear illustration of the tremendous progress toward delivering the first 5G NR specification and our readiness for the upcoming trials and interoperability testing that we recently announced.

And finally, as these trials drive the mobile ecosystem toward rapid validation and commercialization of 5G NR technologies at scale, we are preparing to enable timely commercial network launches based on 3GPP Rel-15 standard-compliant 5G NR mobile devices with our recent announcement of the expansion of the industry’s first announced 5G modem family.

Hype or reality? Well, if you want to get a little dose of 5G reality in a world of a lot of 5G hype, I encourage you to come by our booth at MWC in Hall 3 Stand 3E10.


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Matt Branda

Director, Technical Marketing