25 operators are already testing 5G

23 Feb 2017

Despite 5G standardization not being expected until 2020, 25 mobile operators have already commenced lab testing 5G technologies, according to industry data from network testing company Viavi.

Of the 25 operators testing 5G, 12 have progressed to field testing, the company said. An additional four operators have announced plans for 5G trials but have not yet commenced them.

Five operators have achieved data speeds of at least 35 Gbps in 5G trials, including Optus, M1 and StarHub.

To date, Etisalat has the speed record at 36Gbps, Viavi said, with Ooredoo close behind at 35.46Gbps. All operators conducting 5G trials have reported data transmission speeds of at least 2Gbps.

Viavi's data also show that operators are testing 5G across a wide range of bands, ranging from sub 3-GHz up to 86-GHz.

The most commonly trialed bandwidth among operators that have disclosed their test spectrum is currently 28-GHz – with eight operators using it – followed by 15-GHz, which is being used by seven operators.

Among equipment suppliers, five major vendors have announced an involvement in 5G trials – Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE. Many operators are working with multiple vendors on their trials, with KT including all five equipment providers.

“The pace of 5G development is already beyond the expectations of many observers,” Viavi CTO Sameh Yamany commented.

“Now, as the technical delivery of data is starting to coalesce, it is time to think ahead to how future 5G networks can manage the disparate requirements of high data rates, very low latency applications and large-scale IoT services while maintaining QoS.”

He said network slicing, involving the automation and programming of multiple cloud-based functions within a virtualized network, will be important to achieving these goals.

“Service providers and their partners will require solutions that are virtualized from one end of the network to the other and have automated and correlated intelligence across each network slice for monitoring, optimization and service assurance.”

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