Ericsson, Intel complete live 5G data call at 39 GHz

Intel lab
Intel's lab in Santa Clara, California, where engineers connected the first 3GPP New Radio 5G-compliant live data call operating over 39 GHz and connecting to a lab in Kista, Sweden. (Intel Corporation)

Intel and Ericsson announced on Friday that they completed a 3GPP New Radio (NR) 5G-compliant live data call using Intel’s RF mm-Wave chip with Ericsson Radio System commercial equipment.

The companies described the 5G trial as the first live multivendor data call over 39 GHz spectrum; it was conducted in labs in Kista, Sweden, and Santa Clara, California. It used Intel’s RF mm-Wave chip with Ericsson Radio System commercial equipment, including the 5G NR radio AIR 5331, baseband and Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform.

“This live 5G demonstration on the 39 GHz band signifies how close 5G commercial services are to reality in North America,” said Asha Keddy, vice president, Next Generation and Standards at Intel, in a press release. She added that it’s an important step in ensuring commercial platforms are field-ready for deployment in 2019.

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This accomplishment at 39 GHz builds on earlier 3GPP NR-compliant calls undertaken at 3.5 GHz between Intel and Ericsson. The 3.5 GHz band has been deemed an important one for 5G around the world, and efforts are underway in the U.S. to finalize rules around the 3.5 GHz band, which is part of a unique three-tiered spectrum sharing strategy.

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The 39 GHz band also is an important one. AT&T has been using the band for 5G tests and trials, and it’s also going to be part of a larger millimeter wave spectrum auction due to begin the second half of 2019. The 39 GHz band will be auctioned together with the 37 and 47 GHz bands, but it’s taking longer to get it prepared than other bands, like 24 and 28 GHz, which will be auctioned this year in the U.S.

“Completing this end-to-end data call on 39 GHz with Intel shows our commitment to realizing 5G in different spectrum bands,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, in the release. “In July we did it on 3.5 GHz and now on 39 GHz, which will smoothen the path to 5G for our customers. Using commercial 5G radios for this multivendor interoperability milestone shows our progress towards making 5G a commercial reality.”

Last month, Ericsson announced it will expand its R&D and manufacturing efforts in the United States ahead of the launch of 5G services here. The U.S. is its largest market, accounting for a quarter of Ericsson’s business over the last seven years. The company said it wants to be closer to its customers here and meet their accelerated 5G deployment plans.