Singtel-owned Australian operator Optus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nokia to collaborate on the network evolution to 5G, which will enable a host of network capabilities such as massive Internet of Things, extreme broadband and ultra-low latency applications.
As the two companies collaborate on the development of 5G, a key project will be a 5G trial using Optus’ 3500-MHz spectrum, a globally harmonized band by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for mobile broadband usage. Optus and Nokia will undertake an early 5G prototype in Optus’s band in Australia by 2017.
“There is a global race to explore and develop 5G technology, and in Australia, Optus is well positioned to lead in this space with our ownership of 3.5GHz, and close partnerships with our vendors including Nokia,” said Tay Soo Meng, Group Chief Technology Officer of Singtel.
Optus said it has conducted initial closed tests with Nokia at its Sydney headquarters on a new 5G radio test bed on Nokia’s Airscale product.
The demonstration highlighted 5G speed capability with the delivery of virtual reality video content. It also showed ultra-reliable low-latency networking enabling new industrial use cases such as real-time responsive robots.
At the same time, a trial has been completed demonstrating the capability of Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) to support the connectivity needs of IoT applications.
“5G is exciting and the potential use for 5G is growing. Through this partnership, the commencement of joint studies, and in-lab and in-field testing, we are primed to explore this technology,” Tay said. “As we look ahead, Optus will explore new network architectures and use case trials with a specific 5G focus.”
Tay added that Optus is also preparing its transport and core networks for virtualized network functions and cloud infrastructure.
Nokia and Optus will collaborate on a wide range of areas including:
- Promoting 5G global standardization and industrialization – Optus through Singtel participates in the NGMN Alliance to give operator inputs to 5G standardization. Nokia will share the latest 3GPP and ITU 5G technology design concepts, new product launches, innovations and technologies.
- Exploration and trials for new network architectures and applications – to prepare Optus and Singtel for future 5G deployments
- Building technology leadership in 5G – a demonstration of pre-commercial 5G systems at a major sporting event.
“We have a number of ongoing 5G innovation projects with operators around the world and we hope to bring the same commitment to our partnership with Optus and Singtel,” said Ray Owen, head of Oceania at Nokia. “Our experience and expertise in this area will go a long way in setting a strong foundation for Optus in Australia.”