Telia and Ericsson announced the launch of a 5G carrier carrier aggregation trial in Norway, raising the prospects for even faster 5G and better coverage for consumers.
Telia’s aim is to bring a nationwide 5G network to Norway by the end of 2023. As part of that goal, it’s working with Ericsson on a 5G New Radio (NR) TDD-FDD carrier aggregation for coverage extension in trial in Lillestrøm, a town located next to Oslo, the capital of Norway.
In its press release, Ericsson described the trial as a demonstration of the “revolutionary nature” of 5G carrier aggregation. Its solution enhances the 5G user experience by extending coverage of the mid-band TDD bands using the uplink of the FDD band. With 5G carrier aggregation, “the download speed further out in the cell was significantly improved,” the vendor explained.
The two companies are making progress toward Telia’s 2023 goal and expect to deliver 5G to 19 more cities by mid-2021, with plans to cover 50% of the country by the end of this year.
“We are very proud to together with Ericsson be the first in the Nordics to successfully test 5G carrier aggregation,” said Espen Weum, acting head of Infra at Telia Norway, in a statement. “With this new technology, our mobile and FWA customers will experience enhanced capacity, coverage, and speed on our fast-expanding 5G network. We will begin to roll out carrier aggregation in our network as soon as we have completed the on-going testing phase.”
Initial tests from the Lillestrøm trial show an increase in 5G coverage of over 50% in the 3.6 GHz band, he said, adding: “We will also be able to considerably improve indoor coverage with this solution.”
Late last year in the U.S., T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray hinted at some of the snazzy new features of 5G that would be coming in 2021. While carrier aggregation is discussed a lot when it comes to 4G, the ability to aggregate low and mid-band spectrum layers for 5G is not yet here, and he expected that feature to come in early 2021.
The OEM device rollout is going to be a “little staggered,” he said, noting that it’s hard to predict what will happen with one of the OEMs in particular, but handsets supporting those capabilities could come as early as the first quarter of 2021.