Japanese network operator NTT DOCOMO has announced plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials in Japan based on the 5G New Radio (NR) specifications being developed by 3GPP. The trials will operate in mid-band spectrum at 4.5GHz, as well as millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum at 28GHz, showcasing the unified 5G NR design across diverse spectrum bands. The trials intend to drive the mobile ecosystem toward rapid validation and commercialisation of 5G NR technologies at scale, enabling timely commercial network launches based on 3GPP Release-15 standard compliant 5G NR infrastructure and devices, a press release stated.
The trials will utilise device prototype and base station solutions from US-based Qualcomm Technologies and Sweden’s Ericsson respectively, along with trial environments from NTT DOCOMO, to simulate real-world scenarios across a broad set of use cases and deployment scenarios. 5G NR trial operations at 4.5GHz will allow a large bandwidth resulting in high data rates and good capacity with reasonable coverage to address the large number of envisioned 5G use cases. The trial will showcase advanced 3GPP 5G NR technologies including Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology, beamforming techniques, adaptive self-contained TDD, scalable OFDM-based waveforms to support wider bandwidths, advanced coding and modulation schemes, and a new flexible, low-latency slot structure based design. In addition, trial 5G NR operation in mmWave spectrum at 28GHz will employ advanced 5G NR antenna technology to deliver robust and sustained mobile broadband communications, including non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments and device mobility.
The interoperability testing and trials, which will launch in Japan in the first half of 2018, are intended to track closely with, as well as help accelerate, the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15 – a global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrum bands.
Note that DOCOMO is among a group of 22 major companies proposing the acceleration of the 5G NR standardisation process (see separate news article in today’s CommsUpdate).