BT Group and Huawei today signed an agreement to extend their strategic partnership, with a clear focus on ensuring 5G leadership for BT Group and its mobile network, EE.
The partnership involves development and live trials of 5G New Radio (NR), core network technology, and 5G customer premises equipment (CPEs). The aim is to test real-life 5G performance in a range of environments in preparation for commercial launch.
BT and EE have a long-standing strategic partnership with Huawei that has delivered world class connectivity across the UK. In 2012, EE and Huawei launched the UK’s first 4G/LTE network. Since then, both companies have worked in close partnership and have jointly achieved several industry records with LTE-advanced and LTE-advanced-Pro evolution. The most recent achievement was a peak rate of 970Mbps tested on EE’s network at Wembley Stadium with a Huawei Mate 10-pro handset, the fastest speed ever recorded on a commercial network.
Howard Watson, CTIO of BT Group, said: “Our 5G research has been hugely promising, and this partnership with Huawei will turn that research into reality. The EE network is already the UK leader for speed and coverage, and with the weight of BT’s R&D and partnerships we can ensure that leadership continues with the introduction a world class 5G experience.Huawei has helped us drive the evolution of the EE 4G network, and they are the ideal partner to help us push the barriers of 5G.”
Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei 5G Product Line, emphasized that "BT is one of Huawei’s most important global customers. Signing this new agreement is recognition of our leading position in the 5G field. We are confident that this further deepening of our partnership will show that our end-to-end 5G solution – from network to device – leads the industry. This partnership demonstrates our ability to deliver and support the successful deployment of a 5G commercial network to our customers."
BT and Huawei started joint work on 5G research and development in 2016 and have a wide ranging research collaboration agreement. In November 2017, they announced the completion of the UK’s first 5G end-to-end lab testing, delivering consistent 2.8Gbps downlink throughput and sub-5ms latency.
Additionally, BT and Huawei showcased the first 5G UL/DL decoupling proof-of-concept live in London at Huawei’s Global Broadband Forum. This key technology improves C-band coverage and implements co-site co-coverage deployment of C-band and 1.8 GHz band. This solves the issue of limited uplink coverage on higher frequency bands during the initial deployment of 5G networks, and greatly reduces operators’ requirements for new sites during 5G network construction.