Nokia

Nokia commercialises next-generation 5G Cloud RAN

23 June 2020 | Melanie Mingas

Cover

Nokia’s next generation 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution, based on vRAN2.0, will be commercially available this year with general availability expected in 2021.

The news follows last week’s completion of a series of Over-the-Air (OTA) 5G NR (new radio) trials in C-band spectrum. Conducted by Nokia in Dallas, Texas, the trails reached speeds in excess of 1 Gbps using its commercial AirScale 5G base station equipment.

Tommi Uitto, president of mobile networks at Nokia, commented: “The next-generation Nokia 5G AirScale Cloud RAN is a true innovation that will transform mobile networks and provide operators with the flexibility they need to meet the customer demands in the evolving 5G era.

“Its flexible architecture offers speed, coverage, capacity and low latency as well as the opportunity to generate revenues immediately.”

The tests confirmed Nokia’s solution is ready for commercial deployment ahead of the US C-band spectrum auction in December. The FCC has been working to clear the airwaves with 7 to 3.82 GHz to be cleared by December 5, 2021, and 82 to 4.0 GHz cleared by December 5, 2023.

Uitto said: “The mobile industry is dependent on the allocation of new spectrum to increase capacity and deliver enhanced mobile broadband services.

“This test, in the C-band, is significant because it proves that we have a solution ready-to-go following the completion of the spectrum auctions in the US later this year. We are already working with all major US carriers and look forward to strengthening our relationship with them further by deploying C-band and delivering incredible 5G experiences to business and subscribers across the country.”

In competition with Huawei and Ericsson, Nokia said it has made “strong progress” in 5G over the last 18 months and has recently won contracts with China Unicom, NTT DOCOMO and Orange. In Q1 of the current calendar year 5G equipment sales buoyed financial results despite supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19.

In the US, the equipment manufacturer is already supplying services to all carriers and is offering the option to deploy C-Band with the 5G Airscale Cloud RAN solution in vRAN2.0 configuration, in which the whole baseband will be in Cloud connected to the radio via an oRAN compliant eCPRI 7.2x interface. 

The US is scheduled to hold a spectrum auction for the C-band in December with network deployments expected in the first half of 2021. C-band spectrum will be prime spectrum for providing leading-edge 5G services in the US, especially when combined with already deployed network infrastructure and spectrum bands via TDD/FDD Carrier Aggregation and other interworking features.