It's not just the giant Tier 1 carriers that are pursuing 5G tests and trials. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) submitted an application for a special temporary authority (STA) to demonstrate prototype 5G equipment to one of its customers located in Ridgeland, Mississippi, where C Spire is based.
The application does not name C Spire, but its address is listed as the location for the demo, which would be from July 1 to July 25 to allow time for set up, conducting the demo and breaking down the equipment after it's all over. The demo would use 68-76 GHz spectrum.
A C Spire spokesman said it's still early in the planning process and the company didn't have any further details to share other than what was in the application.
Nokia has been granted at least 14 FCC applications this year for various demonstrations. Last week, it received approval to conduct tests at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., in the 68-76 GHz spectrum. The authorization is effective May 30 and expires June 18. The application doesn't state the name of any carriers, but it would line up with Sprint's plans to test gear during two COPA America soccer finals in June. Sprint will also test gear from Ericsson at another COPA tournament stadium.
During a panel session at the Brooklyn 5G Summit in April, C Spire CTO Stephen Bye said the industry has to be careful not to try to boil the ocean for 5G, a sentiment others expressed as well.
"When I look at the list of all the things we're trying to do with 5G, it's going to take forever," he said. "We're very keen to get better spectral efficiency and drive capacity in networks. LTE can get us so far, but we need wider band channels, we need to tap into the millimeter wave spectrum and we cannot wait five years for the standards process to try and solve everything… We've got to find a way to get the technology deployed faster." At the same time, the industry needs to get the economies of scale that the technology affords. "It's a challenge the whole industry has."
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has said it is testing 5G technologies this year with the aim of having an initial fixed wireless pilot starting in 2017. With its acquisition of X/O Communications, it has the ability for an option to buy around the 28 GHz band, which is one of the popular bands eyed for testing these days.
- see this STA application
Sprint gets in on 5G with two COPA America stadium trials planned
AT&T expects to start outdoor 5G tests in Austin this summer
Verizon seeks license to test millimeter wave technology at 28 GHz