BT and Nokia have signed a deal to work together on the development of 5G technologies. The partnership has already started in earnest, and Nokia is testing its latest 5G kit at BT Lab’s Adastral Park facility.
The agreement will also include the development of proof-of-concept trials around 5G technologies, and the development of standards and equipment that could be used for 5G networks.
The 5G trials will focus on key areas, including mmWave radio and convergence, as well assessing how 5G could be used in areas such as the Internet of Things.
Another key focus will be on the potential ‘flexibility’ of 5G services so that capabilities can be scaled up and down for specific users, such as ensuring that mission-critical services have very low latency services, or that services requiring high bandwidth receive what they need.
This idea could cause problems, however, as it would go against the essence of net neutrality, i.e. that all services should receive the same network treatment so that the web is a level playing field.
Operators have already raised concerns that this could hamper development and deployments around 5G, as noted by a consortium of EU telecoms operators including BT and Nokia earlier this year.
“The telecoms industry warns that the current net neutrality guidelines create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment,” it said.
Nevertheless, Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations, claimed that working with Nokia is vital for 5G networks to reach their potential.
“It’s still early days for 5G technology, but experience tells us that a collaborative approach is key to success,” he said.
“We’re delighted to be working with Nokia to drive a common approach to 5G, and to develop exciting use cases which bring together our combined experience in fixed and mobile technologies.”
Cormac Whelan, head of the UK & Ireland at Nokia, echoed this sentiment. “5G is the communications technology of the future, and it will transform how we communicate with each other, as well as communicate with devices and ‘things’," he said.
"Nokia is delighted to be working with BT in laying the foundations for 5G adoption in the coming years, and in helping define how this technology will enable exciting and innovative experiences.”
The agreement between BT and Nokia follows other high-level deals between the European Union, Japan and the US to see that the standards and technologies governing 5G are the same globally.
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