Nokia fetes 5G SA call with China Unicom

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Nokia reports second-quarter results on July 31. (Getty Images)

Nokia is touting the successful completion of its first 5G standalone (SA) call on a live network with China Unicom—and it expects to achieve full deployment of numerous software solutions with the operator several weeks ahead of schedule.

Nokia said the data and voice calls, which marked firsts for Nokia on a 5G SA network, were completed earlier than planned in part due to Nokia’s “experience-driven, customer-focused approach.” The 5G SA core means China Unicom can now demonstrate, among other things, network slicing capabilities.

Nokia announced in June that China Unicom had chosen Nokia to support the buildout of its 5G SA core network in China, marking an expansion of Nokia’s existing 4G working relationship with the Chinese service provider. Specifically, Nokia was awarded a share of about 10% of China Unicom’s 5G core network.

Nokia, which reports second-quarter results tomorrow, is one of the vendors that T-Mobile is working with in the U.S. to launch SA 5G. Other partners include Cisco, Ericsson, MediaTek, OnePlus and Qualcomm.

T-Mobile earlier this month said it’s hard at work getting ready to light up SA 5G this quarter, having completed a standalone 5G data session on a multi-vendor radio and core network.

RELATED: T-Mobile touts multi-vendor milestones on path to 5G SA

Verizon also touted the completion of a successful end-to-end data session over its new 5G network standalone core. Verizon said it expects to start moving traffic on to the new core in the second half of 2020, with full commercialization in 2021. The operator is using multiple vendors but isn’t naming them.

AT&T in a statement earlier this month told Fierce it is progressing on its SA 5G core. “We have working, integrated solutions in place today, and we’re on track to begin initial network deployments later this year,” AT&T said in a statement. “We plan to expand those deployments and develop our Standalone 5G capabilities so that we can launch commercial service and deliver Standalone 5G at performance levels our customers expect when compatible devices are available.”

RELATED: ‘Real’ 5G relies on 5G NR, Standalone architecture: Special Report

The big three U.S. operators started their 5G deployments using non-standalone 5G specifications. The SA version, which does not rely on LTE, allows an operator to address not just enhanced mobile broadband, but massive machine-to-machine communications, or massive IoT, and ultra low latency communications. It also allows for more advanced network slicing activities.