Qualcomm, ZTE and China Mobile in 5G NR interoperability field trial pact

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Qualcomm Technologies, ZTE, and China Mobile have revealed plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials of the 5G NR (New Radio) specifications being developed by the 3GPP.

The three companies aim to work out how 5G NR technologies can efficiently achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates at significantly lower latency and better reliability than current networks, particularly for emerging apps like virtual reality, augmented reality and connected cloud computing, as well as high-reliability/low-latency services like autonomous vehicles, drones and industrial equipment.

The trials will utilize device prototypes and base stations from Qualcomm Technologies and ZTE, respectively, to simulate real-world scenarios across a broad set of 5G NR use cases and deployment scenarios, following the guidelines of China Mobile.

The trials will focus on 5G NR usage in the 3.5 GHz band, which is a critical band in China for achieving ubiquitous 5G coverage and capacity. Advanced technologies to undergo testing include MIMO antenna technology, adaptive self-contained TDD, beamforming techniques, scalable OFDM-based waveforms to support wider bandwidths, advanced coding and modulation schemes, and a new flexible, low-latency slot structure based design.

The interoperability testing and trials, which will launch in China starting in the second half of this year, are intended to track closely with, as well as help accelerate, the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15 – the 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands.

Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Qualcomm Technologies, said in a statement that tracking the 3GPP spec will promote adherence and validation with the standard, which will accelerate the time to standard-compliant devices and infrastructure and drive forward compatibility to future 3GPP 5G NR releases.

“Trials based on the global 3GPP 5G standard, such as this, are critical to ensure timely deployment of 5G networks and continuing our long history of leadership integrating advanced wireless technologies,” he said.

Wang Xiaoyun, general manager of China Mobile’s technology department, said the operator has invested a lot of resources into 5G research, standardization and industrialization, to include building a 5G joint innovation center to facilitate cross-industry innovation.

“We have finished our phase I trial on 5G key technologies and started the phase II trial on 5G systems,” Wang said. “The collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and ZTE will push the devices and base stations to maturity and ensure their time-to-market. We encourage more partners to work together, facilitate the completion of the global unified 5G standard, drive the industrialization and build a harmonized ecosystem through trials, tests and cross-industry innovation.”

Xu Huijun, CTO of ZTE, pledged to continue working with China Mobile, Qualcomm and other partners on 5G tests and trials to promote 5G commercialization worldwide.

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