Deutsche Telekom announced that a 5G research alliance it forged with South Korean operator SK Telecom in February is gaining traction, as a host of big-name wireless companies join the duo.
The German-headquartered operator said companies including Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Qualcomm, and Samsung have joined the 5G research programme, which Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom first unveiled during the 2016 Mobile World Congress.
Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom stated that the new partners will help to accelerate the pace of development of 5G technology. Specifically, the extra companies will help Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom to quickly identify potential problems with proposals for 5G standards. Being able to identify and solve hurdles early in the process of defining specifications will result in a faster time to market for commercial 5G services, the companies said.
In addition to accelerating the commercial launch of 5G technology, the expanded standards group will also help to deliver a high quality experience to end-users.
Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, Deutsche Telekom’s CTO, said the addition of big-name wireless companies will help to “make the vision of a common worldwide [5G] standard come true.”
The CTO added that progress towards defining and launching 5G services will be made with the “next release of the official 3GPP specifications”, which he said are “set to form the basis of 5G.”
Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO and head of SK Telecom’s corporate R&D centre, said that progress towards defining 5G standards is happening “much faster than initially expected,” and noted that “early harmonisation and standardisation are essential” to the success of the technology.
Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom ultimately plan to launch a transcontinental 5G trial network, based on technologies including network functions virtualisation, software-defined infrastructure, distributed cloud, and network slicing.
The companies said the main goal of the trial network will be to optimise roaming experience for subscribers, and to prove that 5G technology has a global reach.
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