Nokia Networks agreed a research deal with South Korean operator SK Telecom that aims to deliver the first demonstrations of 5G technology using frequencies of 6.5 GHz and higher by 2018.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) designed to deliver a definition of what fifth generation technology will be, and verify its ability to boost network speeds compared to LTE (4G). Nokia Networks and SK Telecom agreed to jointly research core 5G network technologies including gigabit-level data communications and cloud based virtualised base station technology.
A key focus area for the pair is the use of cm and mm-wave 5G technology, which SK Telecom explained uses wideband spectrum resources of 6.5 GHz or higher for data communications.
Interest in using frequencies of 6 GHz and over is increasing. Earlier this week, UK regulator Ofcom opened a consultation into the use of frequencies of 6 GHz and above for 5G.
Choi Jin-sung, EVP and head of Corporate R&D Center at SK Telecom, said the operator expects the research deal with Nokia Networks to "accelerate our speeds towards the development of core 5G technologies."
The 5G agreement builds on an existing research deal signed between Nokia Networks and SK Telecom in mid-2014 covering the development of virtualisation, software-based networks, and next generation cloud network management.
Nokia Networks CTO Hossein Moiin said the latest MoU highlights how the company is "driving 5G research and standardisation with SK Telecom" to meet the "extreme requirements" of 5G networks that will "interconnect humans, machines and things".
Details of the collaboration emerged a day after Canada-based testing and validation systems provider Nutaq announced the opening of a 5G Development Centre at the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.
The centre will initially focus on testing Nutaq's Titan MiMO system, and verifying the results of a recent research paper covering hybrid beam forming algorithms for massive MiMO system produced by Nazarbayev University and the China Mobile Research Institute.
Ofcom takes next step towards 5G by consulting on use of spectrum above 6 GHz
Huawei commits £5M to UK 5G research centre
Europe commits to being a leader in defining and developing 5G
Ericsson predicts electronic telepathy will hit mainstream by 2020
Europe accelerates push toward a 5G wireless future
Article updated Jan. 26 to change the frequency ranges from 6 GHz to 6.5 GHz to reflect an amendment to SK Telecom's original press release.