Nokia touts 5G carrier aggregation trial with Taiwan Mobile

Taipei Taiwan
The trial was performed with Nokia’s AirScale 5G SA architecture in Taiwan Mobile's commercial 5G network. (Getty Images)

Nokia reports that, along with Taiwan Mobile (TWM), it achieved “the world’s first” New Radio (NR) carrier aggregation (CA) by combining spectrum in the 700 MHz and 3500 MHz bands.

The trial took place in a 5G standalone (SA) network environment. 

Operators have been using carrier aggregation in other frequency band combinations in order to achieve better performance and deliver higher data rates and increased coverage, but Nokia described this feat as something out of the ordinary.

In the trial, they used Nokia’s AirScale 5G SA architecture in TWM’s commercial 5G network and combined the two spectrum bands, frequency division duplex (FDD) in 700 MHz (n28) and time division duplex (TDD) in 3500 MHz (n78). These bands, Nokia noted, are widely adopted in 5G networks worldwide. MediaTek provided equipment to verify network performance.

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This is how Nokia describes it: FDD is a lower frequency band that provides wide coverage area improving cell edge performance. TDD has a higher bandwidth and capacity. The combination of these spectrum bands offers enhanced capacity and coverage supporting a range of 5G deployment scenarios, including indoor and enhanced outdoor coverage.

“This trial is an important milestone as we execute our 5G strategy and deliver best-in-class 5G services to our subscribers,” said Tom Koh, SVP and chief technology officer in Taiwan Mobile’s Technology Group, in a statement. “Combining SA with NR CA, our 5G user experience is raised to the next level while the utilization of our spectrum assets and 5G networks are maximized. We are pleased with our partnership with Nokia as we continue to advance deployment and build a thriving 5G ecosystem.”

Last year, Nokia announced that it was selected by Taiwan Mobile as the sole supplier of its 5G network in a three-year deal worth more than $450 million. That called for Nokia supplying 5G radio access network (RAN), 5G core and 5G IMS, including Nokia’s latest AirScale Radio Access products.

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The first phase involved the deployment of 5G non-standalone (NSA) with the aim of migrating to 5G standalone within three years. Nokia is also supporting TWM’s efforts to execute its “Super 5G strategy,” which is focused on sustainability and digital transformation.