ZTE

Belarus gets first 5G SA test network

01 June 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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Belarus has become the latest country to launch a fully-fledged standalone (SA) 5G network in test mode.

Pioneered by ZTE and A1 under the 3.5 GHz spectrum bandwidth, the high-speed 5G SA network, supports such applications as Gigabit without Fibber Connectivity, Cloud XR, ultra-HD live broadcast, automatic driving and remote surgery.

On its first 5G SA test network, local telco A1 completed Belarus’s first call in a new standard format, by virtue of VoNR (Voice over New Radio) technology for 5G packet voice transmission.

“The path of A1 to the deployment of fifth-generation communications began in 2016 with the launch of the world's first fully virtual mobile core network together with ZTE,” said Christian Laqué, A1 deputy general director for technical issues. “Then, we were the first in Belarus to implement such innovative solutions as NB-IoT, eSIM, VoLTE, VoWiFi, thereby laying a solid foundation for the future development of 5G.”

Driving the project forward, ZTE and A1 will soon launch a joint 5G laboratory in the industrial park Great Stone, where there are plans to test network equipment and applications for vertical industries.

Wei Wei, GM of ZTE LLC, Belarus, said: “We are pleased that A1, one of our long-term partners, has become the first operator in Belarus to launch 5G SA network. 5G Stand-alone architecture allows improving network bandwidth while adapting to various innovative services.”

In January, ZTE – which channels 10% of annual revenues to R&D – raised US$1.66 billion to boost 5G network development. In April, China Mobile awarded contracts worth $5.2 billion to ZTE, Huawei and Ericsson for the build out of 232,143 base stations to support the ongoing roll out of its 5G network.

“A1’s 5G network is initially built on the basis of standalone architecture. This solution is the ultimate goal of any service provider who seeks to provide its subscribers with all the advantages of advanced standard communications,” said Christian Laqué, A1’s deputy general director for technical issues.

“The path of A1 to the deployment of fifth-generation communications began in 2016 with the launch of the world's first fully virtual core of a mobile network. Further down the line, we were the first in Belarus to implement such innovative solutions as NB-IoT, eSIM, VoLTE, VoWiFi. All of this allowed us to lay a solid foundation for the future development of 5G,” Laqué added.