Huawei targets 2018 World Cup in Russia for 5G trial

Huawei is getting even deeper into 5G waters, inking a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MegaFon in Russia, with plans to demonstrate 5G in a trial during the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

That's two years ahead of when commercial 5G is expected to be available. "With the help of MegaFon, we are confident for turning a 'science fiction' service into 5G reality for Russian citizens and soccer fans from around the world, two years ahead of the industry's estimated 5G introduction date of 2020!" Ryan Ding, president, products and solutions at Huawei, declared in a press release.

"The communication boundaries between human and machines are bound to be broken by 5G," he said. "Huawei has made great progress in the development of 5G," and the 2018 FIFA World Cup provides a unique platform in wireless history for Huawei to demonstrate its leadership in 5G development.

The announcement came during the 2014 Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBB Forum) in Shanghai, China, this week.  

According to the MoU, Huawei and MegaFon will collaborate to test 5G networks in the runup to the FIFA World Cup 2018 that will be hosted in 11 of Russia's largest cities and, according to the Russia 2018 Bid Committee, will be attended by more than 1 million foreign football fans. 

MegaFon will, for the first time among the Russian mobile operators, be involved in developing communication standards and influence its technical characteristics based on the realities of the Russian telecommunications market, its frequency range and terrain, according to the press release. Huawei will take into account MegaFon's recommendations and test pilot equipment for the new standard on the operator's networks.

The 5G trials will be the first in Russia, as well as the first with plans to serve large scale users and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices, Huawei says.

To ensure the testing of a full-scale, 100 percent 5G experience, Huawei will be introducing technologies "such as SCMA, full duplex, and cloud base station to the 5G network, as well as providing testing 5G terminals in trial zones," the release said.

In other 5G Huawei news, the vendor is pledging to launch innovation programs with Singapore's SingTel. That partnership calls for the two to launch the Fifth Generation (5G) Joint Innovation Program, which will serve as a research hub for the advancement of 5G mobile broadband technologies.

That project comes after Huawei announced it was going to invest in a large-scale 5G test bed at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England.

For more:
- see this Mobile World Live article
- see this CNET story
- see this TechRadar story
- see this press release

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