Mobile network operator (MNO) A1 Belarus, working in partnership with ZTE of China, has launched a 5G standalone architecture (SA) network in test mode, claiming a first for the eastern European country. The fully-fledged 5G SA network uses the 3.5GHz band and has been set up at a number of locations in Minsk including October Square (covering A1’s head office and in the area near the Palace of the Republic) and Great Stone industrial park. Further test sites are already earmarked for the premises of the Minsk-Arena multifunctional cultural and sports complex and near the Minsk Sports Palace.
In a press release the MNO, which is backed by A1 Telekom Austria Group, said the test network demonstrated ‘a more than tenfold increase in network capacity and data transfer speed compared to the current 3G/4G networks’. During the first test it claimed speeds of up to 1.1Gbps, while subsequently A1 reported making Belarus’ first call within the test 5G SA network on 25 May, thanks to the introduction of Voice-over-New Radio (VoNR) technology, used for 5G high-definition voice packet transmission. The first test VoNR call used a smartphone powered by the latest MediaTek Dimensity 1000 series SoC (System-on-Chip).