The ink is still drying on the official specifications for non-standalone (LTE-anchored) 5G, but one group of global telecom and equipment manufacturing partners has already announced a trial using the new standard.
Chipset manufacturer Qualcomm and telecom equipment and services company Ericsson, along with operators including Europe’s Vodafone, the U.S.’ AT&T and Australia’s Telstra, came together to demonstrate 5G New Radio (NR) connections operating effectively between the various partners in live demos held in an Ericsson lab in Kista, Sweden, and a Qualcomm lab in New Jersey, U.S.
The demonstrations used Ericsson’s 5G NR pre-commercial base stations and Qualcomm’s 5G NR UE prototypes.
The over-the-air test — called an Interoperability Development Testing — was conducted for lower layer data connections (referring to the building blocks of 5G NR) operating at both high mmWave 28GHz bands and lower 3.5GHz bands.
The specification for non-standalone 5G was set on December 20th by global standards body 3GPP, and the group says it will publish more details on December 22nd — though those interested can browse the draft of the 5G standard that was declared complete here. Just look for files beginning with “http://38xxx.zip”.
Non-standalone 5G NR will use existing LTE radio and evolved packet core network as an “anchor” for mobility management and coverage, while adding a 5G NR radio access carrier to enable certain 5G technologies starting in 2019.
A spec for standalone 5G — a full 5G network with no LTE anchor — is expected to be complete by June 2018.