Nokia, Ericsson mark separate 5G trial milestones in Japan, South Korea

Tokyo skyline
The Nokia/KDDI trial showed how 5G can provide broadband in the super dense environment of Tokyo.

While Nokia and Japanese operator KDDI are talking about a 5G trial in a dense residential environment, Ericsson shared results of its 5G trials with KT in South Korea in preparation for 2018 Winter Olympics.

Most recently, Nokia and KDDI announced a country-first trial simulating future 5G network demands, providing high-speed, 1 gigabit-per-second connectivity inside an apartment block using Nokia radio technology on the 28 GHz band.

The trial, conducted between the KDDI Research Building and an apartment about 100 meters away, achieved speeds of more than 1 Gbps on the 28GHz band, demonstrating how 5G technology can be used inside apartment blocks. This could one day meet demand for wireless ultra-broadband in megacities such as Tokyo, the most densely populated metropolitan area in the world.

The trial took place in Fujimino City of Saitama Prefecture and marked the first in a series of 5G collaborations between Nokia and KDDI following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding last year to develop technologies for 5G.

“The speeds achieved in this trial show great potential for us to deliver high-quality services,” Akira Matsunaga, senior director of mobile network technical development at KDDI, said in a press release. “Working with Nokia, we want to develop the use of technologies that deliver on the promise of 5G to meet our subscribers needs."

The technology used in the trial included the Nokia AirScale Base Station, part of Nokia's 5G FIRST end-to-end solution, to provide coverage and connectivity to the apartment block. The Nokia AirFrame offered a commercial platform to enable cloud RAN and allow for the transmission of streaming data.

RELATED: Nokia CEO announces 5G FIRST, underscores commitment to Verizon in 5G

Meanwhile, in South Korea, rival Ericsson has been working with KT and other technology partners to build, test and optimize a 5G network in preparation for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang. At an April 2017 meeting, KT and its partners agreed on steps to deploy and optimize a trial 5G network during 2017, including plans for joint technology development.

Ericsson and KT have conducted tests along the Incheon Airport Railway—a new high-speed rail line linking the capital of Seoul with Incheon International Airport. The tests included a handover between 5G base stations along the railway and a peak throughput of 4 Gbps.

RELATED: KT gets ready to show off 5G for PyeongChang 2018 Olympics

Ericsson said its end-to-end 5G capabilities include radio and core network infrastructure as well as services like Omni view. Moving forward, Ericsson and KT have agreed to jointly develop beam forming/beam tracking technology and 5G-LTE interworking technology to optimize capacity and coverage. 

Infrastructure in the 28 GHz trial 5G trial network will include virtual radio access network (vRAN) and virtualized core (5G core system), and KT is already in the process of conducting interoperability tests based on the PyeongChang 5G SIG specification.

KT Executive Vice President HongBeom Jeon told attendees at the Brooklyn 5G Summit that KT is working hard with its partners to make sure the 5G systems and services are available by October of this year and ready for the Olympics.  

Nokia is also working with KT and reiterated last year that they were preparing for deployment of the world’s first mobile 5G network in South Korea in 2017.