5G development is happening globally and testing, standardisation and trials are a vital part of ensuring the technology is prepared for commercial deployment.
While 5G standards are still being worked out, 25 mobile operators have announced they are lab testing 5G. Among the 25, 12 reported having progressed to field testing and four operators have announced plans for 5G trials, according to a report by Viavi.
To accelerate the development of a global 5G standard, a unified end-to-end ecosystem and a thriving 5G market the Global 5G Test Summit was held yesterday at Mobile World Congress 2017.
The Summit, supported by industry organisations ITU, 3GPP, NGMN, GTI and GSMA, brought together industry leaders and experts from global operators, telecoms organisations and vendors from across the mobile industry.
The event highlighted global operators’ development strategies and plans on 5G testing and trials. Leading firms from around the world discussed their latest progress and findings on key 5G technologies as well as tests and trials.
It also explored how participants will start early trials and interoperability testing. Participating companies examined how to better promote the 5G unified standard through 5G testing, explore how to strengthen cooperation between all the different companies involved in enabling 5G, and address how the technical and ecosystem challenges will be overcome as 5G matures into commercial offerings.
Four leading operators, which are committed to early deployment of 5G, shared their experiences and approaches at the Summit.
Operators are testing across a wide range of bandwidths, ranging from sub-3GHz to 86GHz. Of the operators that have disclosed their test spectrum, currently the most commonly trialled wavelength is 28GHz, with eight operators using it, as well as 15GHz, which is being used in trials by seven operators.
In addition to the participation of AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO and Vodafone, major equipment vendors Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia and Qualcomm, as well as industry bodies contributed their insights towards 5G test and trials developments.
Participants also called for to steps to promote 5G development and encourage innovations in 5G key technologies.
At the event a “Global 5G Test/Trial” declaration was released(see photo on right), which aims to promote a unified standard and accelerate the maturity of the 5G industry towards commercial deployment by strengthening cooperation between telecoms operators, vendors and vertical industry partners.
The statement also proposed six approaches to the testing and trials to ensure the steady and on-track development of 5G, encouraged and welcomes partners from vertical industries to participate in the test and trial for 5G innovative services, and to jointly create new value for the whole sector.
China Mobile EVP Liu Aili said that to achieve the large-scale commercialisation of 5G in 2020, China Mobile will strengthen cooperation with global industry partners to facilitate a unified and high-quality 3GPP 5G specification, accelerate the maturity of 5G industry through testing and trials, and explore new services, applications and business models with vertical industry partners for a unified 5G ecosystem.
Seizo Onoe, CTO and EVP at NTT DOCOMO, said a unified standard is vital to the realisation of an end-to-end 5G ecosystem. “We believe this statement will promote the finalisation of 3GPP release 15 specifications surely and timely, and facilitate early implementation of standard-compliant 5G,” he said.
Tom Keathley, SVP of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T, said their through advanced testing and trials, it is addressing key standards issues early in order to accelerate standards and provide the fastest path to large-scale, global 5G deployment.
Matt Beal, director of technology, architecture and strategy at Vodafone, stressed that the alignment of the industry behind a common global standard is important for the evolution of 5G and the cost efficient rollout of the technology globally. “We look forward to working across the industry to establish a thriving 5G ecosystem,” he said.
Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei’s 5G Product Line, said "Huawei will keep an open and innovative attitude with all industry chain partners to promote 5G test, inspire 5G key technology innovation, explore 5G new applications and build 5G unified ecosystem."
Asha Keddy, VP and GM of Next Generation and Standards at Intel Communications and Devices Group said, “We believe having a unified standard across the global ecosystems is critical to driving the 5G transformation that will connect the billions of smart things and revolutionize how we experience the world.”
Other companies that jointly declared the statement were: Ericsson, Keysight, MediaTek, Nokia, Qualcomm, Rohde & Schwarz, ZTE and Datang.