China Mobile – the world’s largest cellular network operator by subscribers – has signed a one-year frame agreement worth up to EUR1.36 billion (USD1.52 billion) with long-term technology partner Nokia, which will see the Chinese company become the first customer of Finland-based Nokia’s ‘5G-ready’ AirScale base station. The AirScale system supports multiple network platforms via cloud technology with the aim of offering greater flexibility to operators. The framework deal also includes the provision of various elements of Nokia’s mobile radio access and core networking portfolio, in addition to fixed access, IP routing and optical transport, customer experience management, operational support system (OSS) and third-party products. Mike Wang, president of the joint management team of Nokia Networks China and Alcatel Shanghai Bell, said: ‘This is a highly significant agreement with our longstanding partner; it … reflects our larger footprint in the country following the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.’
In a separate announcement, China Mobile’s Quanzhou Branch revealed that it has completed the commercial deployment of 3D-multiple input multiple output (MIMO) (also referred to as ‘pre-5G Massive MIMO’) in Quanzhou in partnership with ZTE. With 16 commercial terminals connected, the single-carrier downlink peak cell rate increased to 730Mbps and, for the first time, the single-carrier 16-stream downlink peak rate of 3D-MIMO reached 700Mbps, with the three-carrier rate up to 2.1Gbps. The three-carrier eight-stream downlink rate of commercial 3D-MIMO reached 1Gbps, a press release stated.
In another 5G-related disclosure, China Mobile Research Institute, China Mobile Shanghai and Huawei announced the joint establishment of a 5G trial field to verify ‘5G High Band and Low Band Coordination Technology’ at Huawei’s Shanghai R&D Centre. The test results so far demonstrated that the average user data rate can reach 1.7Gbps with a bandwidth of 200MHz on the low frequency. Furthermore, mmWave frequency technology can improve the network capacity in hot spots effectively on dual connectivity modes with both 5G low frequency and millimeter wave networks; the 5G dual connectivity network can provide 18Gbps for single user peak throughput, China Mobile and Huawei said in their press release.