Vodafone and Ericsson launch UK’s first pre-standard 5G trial
20 December 2017 | Natalie Bannerman
Vodafone UK and Ericsson have partnered with Kings College London to test standalone pre-standard 5G using a prototype device in a central London 3.5 GHz spectrum field trial.
The successful test, is a first in the UK and is set to further collaborative work between the three parties. Thus far no one has shown pre-standard 5G working independently of existing 4G networks.
Commenting on the news, Kye Prigg, head of networks at Vodafone UK, said: “We’re delighted to be the first provider to test standalone 5G in the field, however, building a 5G network will take time. Right now, we’re also modernising our network by making smarter use of our existing mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile coverage our customers deserve.”
Vodafone said that it will continue to test 5G technology and find opportunities to provide better services to consumers and businesses prior to its commercial deployment in 2020. And the live trials will help establish the different uses of 5G services in areas such as factory automation, smart energy grids and remote surgery.
Marielle Lindgren, head of Ericsson in the UK and Ireland, added: “Supporting our customers in making 5G a reality is key for us. This is a live trial in a densely populated central London urban area and the first time in the UK that we’ve been able to show pre-standard 5G working independently. We remain committed to advancing 5G development in the UK, working closely with leading operators and ecosystem players to enable global scale and drive the industry in one common direction.”
At King’s College London, engineers were able to showcase a number of technologies including Massive MIMO, the technology, which is was deployed by Vodafone in its network.
In addition, the project is combining different bands of spectrum across the UK to increase capacity and boost data speeds. For example, by combining four different bands of spectrum, Vodafone enables the latest smartphones to reach up to 500Mbps, essential for data-hungry video applications and the advent of IoT.
“We are immensely proud to support two of the industry’s biggest names in one of the most exciting technology trials of our era,” said Mischa Dohler, professor of Wireless Communications and director of the centre for telecommunications research at King’s College London.
“It is the product of years’ long engagement with both Ericsson and Vodafone, and testimony to King’s incredible research and innovation capabilities. To be the first in the UK to showcase live a technology which will fundamentally change our society for the better, is very humbling. We are very proud that King’s has become a global go-to-place for industries regarding 5G innovation, design and delivery.”
Vodafone also said that this announcement with Ericsson and Kings College London ties in with its latest partnership with CityFibre on its £500 million plus Gigabit fibre network.
“5G also needs fibre optic cables. Together with CityFibre, we will soon start work installing the advanced fibre networks providing high-capacity backhaul connections required for 5G mobile services,” added Prigg.