NTT DoCoMo kicks off 5G trials

09 May 2014

ITEM: NTT DoCoMo has teamed up with half a dozen vendors to start experimental trials of “5G” technology.

In this case, “5G” means wireless data transmissions passing the 10 Gbps mark utilizing not only existing cellular frequency bands, but also potentially higher bands ranging from 3.5-GHz to 30-GHz and beyond.

Ericsson, NEC, Nokia and Samsung will participate in the higher-band trials, while Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu will focus on the lower bands. Each vendor will be focused on different experiments, as this handy chart demonstrates.

While 5G isn't slated for commercialization before 2020, DoCoMo intends to explore the capabilities of various 5G technologies in millimeter-wave frequencies, with an emphasis on its ability to support various apps, from medical apps and public safety to M2M.

DoCoMo said in a statement it will share results from its trials to contribute to the 5G standardization process, currently expected to start in 2016.

In the meantime, DoCoMo will conduct indoor trials of 5G at its R&D Center in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, for the rest of 2014. Outdoor trials are slated for next year.

Numerous initiatives have been launched to start 5G research in markets like South Korea, Taiwan, the UK and the US – mainly via universities, governments and research institutes (albeit with vendor and sometimes operator participation).

Earlier this year, the operator-led

NGMN Alliance

said it had begun defining “key operator requirements” to guide the development of 5G-related technology platforms and related standards.

However, DoCoMo looks as though it’s the first operator to start doing 5G trials on its own – at least publicly.

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