Telia, Ericsson trial 5G on live outdoor network in Kista

Telia's Mats Svärdh said low-latency was a key achievement of the outdoor trial

Ericsson and Telia conducted outdoor trials of 5G technology in Sweden that the vendor said boosts the pair’s goal of launching 5G-like services in Sweden and Estonia in 2018.

The demonstrations of 5G capabilities utilised 800 MHz of spectrum in the 15 GHz band, and were conducted on a live network in Kista. In a statement announcing the trial, Ericsson said the partners achieved peak data rates of 15 Gbps -- some 40 times faster than the maximum speeds that can be reached using 4G technology -- and latency of under 3 milliseconds.

Telia and Ericsson announced in January that they aim to deliver the first 5G experiences to subscribers in Stockholm and Tallinn in 2018. The services will be delivered on a pre-commercial 5G network, following joint development and testing of 5G use-cases covering communications and Internet of Things (IoT).

Mats Svärdh, head of networks and IT infrastructure, global services and operations, at Telia, said the Kista demonstration is one of the first steps towards standardising and developing 5G technology.

“Our knowledge and learnings from testing in a real outdoor environment will be crucial to understand and develop the 5G technology and networks needed to meet our customers’ future requirements," he said.

In a related Telia statement, Svärdh said the low latency achieved in the Kista test was a key development. “We experience some difficulties in delivering really short latencies. They are important because you need to have short latencies in order to fully support services such as virtual reality, augmented reality or self-driving cars.”

The company said the sub-3 millisecond latency achieved in the trial was a “massive improvement” on current rates.

Ericsson’s head of region Northern Europe and Central Asia, Peter Laurin, echoed Svärdh’s comments regarding the importance of the recent trial to the partners’ long-term goals. “Our 5G roadmap will incrementally introduce IoT technologies and 5G concepts that will enhance end-user experience and business potential for enterprises and society.”

The European Commission last month said the benefits of 5G technology would go beyond the mobile industry. A study conducted for the commission by InterDigital Europe, Real Wireless, Tech4i2, and Trinity College Dublin predicted that the technology has the potential to create new jobs in vertical industries and trickle-down effects worth €141.8 billion ($156.2 billion) by 2025.