According to a recent report on the Chinese technology website c114.net, a few days ago China’s IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group has completed a third phase of non-standalone (NSA) trials.
It also reached the halfway point in standalone (SA) trials. Tests covered indoor and outdoor trials, core network and base station functions.
Huawei, ZTE and China Information and Communication Technologies Group completed trials using the 3.5GHz and 4.9GHz frequency bands, but more than 20 major names from China and elsewhere took part in the third-phase NSA trials. They included Ericsson, Intel, Nokia Shanghai Bell, Qualcomm, Rohde & Schwarz and Samsung.
Although Huawei in particular seemed happy with test results to date, there is still a long way to go. A number of interoperability tests are the next step, with 5G R&D tests, which started in 2016, scheduled to run to the end of this year.
An interesting aside to this news is that US operator Verizon has announced the actual launch of 5G in four US cities. Except of course that this is a very small launch and fixed wireless access (FWA)-based rather than fully mobile 5G.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has outlined plans to free up more spectrum for 5G and Wi-Fi, a development that will interest many would-be 5G players around the world who would no doubt like to see it replicated in their own countries.
In reality, it’s still early days as far as consumer 5G is concerned. However, these, and a number of other 5G projects and initiatives, will no doubt offer useful insights into the challenges likely to be faced when 5G – in a number of forms – gets closer to becoming a mass-market technology.