Pointing to their partnership as a sign the industry is rapidly maturing and preparing for commercial deployment of 5G under unified standards, Huawei announced it has partnered with Intel to launch 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR)-based Interoperability Development Testing (IODT).
Using Huawei’s 5G base station prototype and Intel’s 3rd Generation 5G Mobile Trial Platform (MTP), the companies will jointly verify performance of key 5G NR technologies at sub-6GHz, including C-Band, millimeter wave and mobility. The companies plan to conduct tests with over-the-air environments directly connecting Huawei’s infrastructure and Intel’s terminal platform.
Yang Chaobin, president of the 5G Product Line at Huawei, said in a release that Huawei already has demonstrated its competence and leadership in C-Band, mmWave and downlink and uplink decoupling 5G technology. “We are excited to work with Intel to help the industry drive development of 5G terminals and to promote sustainable development and ecosystem maturity in the industry chain,” Chaobin said.
“Intel has been actively collaborating with leading players in the Chinese 5G industry to accelerate 5G R&D tests and commercialization with Intel's end-to-end 5G technology advantages,” said Asha Keddy, vice president in the Communication and Devices Group at Intel. “Based on the latest 5G NR technologies, this joint interoperability test with Huawei will further drive unified 5G standards and the industrial ecosystem in China and across the globe.”
China will be among the first countries to widely deploy 5G networks. In fact, one of the key takeaways from the inaugural MWC Americas show in San Francisco earlier this month was the notion that the U.S. runs the risk of not taking on the same leadership role with 5G as it did with 4G.
China is being more aggressive in the shift toward 5G than it was in the transition toward 4G, according to Stefan Pongratz, senior director at the Dell’Oro Group and FierceWireless contributor. Dell’Oro market projections suggest China will be the largest 5G infrastructure market by 2021.
Intel and Huawei signaled their plans to double down on 5G earlier this year. At the MWC 2017 global 5G test summit in February, Huawei, Intel and their telecom operator partners announced they would work together to drive globally unified 5G standards.
The 5G test collaboration aims to enhance cooperation among telecom operators, equipment manufacturers and vertical industry partners, create a unified 5G industry chain from chips and terminals, to network infrastructure and test equipment and build a global 5G ecosystem. The launch of IODT by Intel and Huawei is seen as a key step toward realizing that goal.
Intel announced earlier this month that when the nonstandalone (NSA) NR specification is finalized, Intel will be ready to quickly begin work with leading telecom equipment manufacturers to make sure the radio access network and the device side successfully operate within the initial NR standard. Keddy also said in a blog post that Intel will join with operators to take nonstandalone NR out of the lab and begin testing it in real-world situations.
The industry expects to meet a self-imposed December deadline to get the NSA version of the 5G NR done, with the standalone version of 5G NR set to be done by September 2018.