Australian mobile network operator (MNO) Optus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nokia to collaborate on the network evolution to 5G, saying in a press release that the agreement will ‘enable a host of network capabilities such as massive Internet of Things (IoT), extreme broadband and ultra-low latency applications’.
Optus has confirmed that a key project covered by the MoU will be a 5G trial using its 3500MHz spectrum, with the two companies aiming to undertake an early 5G prototype by 2017. Furthermore, Optus and Nokia will collaborate on a wide range of areas, namely: promoting 5G global standardisation and industrialisation, with Nokia sharing the latest 3GPP and ITU 5G technology design concepts, new product launches, innovations and technologies; exploration and trials for new network architectures and applications; and building technology leadership in 5G, including a demonstration of pre-commercial 5G systems at a major sporting event.
Optus meanwhile has already reportedly conducted initial closed tests with Nokia at its Sydney headquarters on a new 5G radio test bed on Nokia’s Airscale product. This demonstration is said to have highlighted 5G speed capability with the delivery of Virtual Reality video content, while also showing 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.
Commenting on the matter, Tay Soo Meng, Group Chief Technology Officer of Optus’ parent company Singtel said: ‘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 … Through this partnership, the commencement of joint studies, and in-lab and in-field testing, we are primed to explore [5G] technology. As we look ahead, Optus will explore new network architectures and use case trials with a specific 5G focus. We are also preparing the network across transport and core networks, through virtualised network functions and cloud infrastructure.’