BT-owned EE has demonstrated a fully-functioning, end-to-end 5G test network that's capable of delivering 2.8Gbps download speeds.
The organisation claimed that it is a major step in the testing of next-generation mobile connectivity, and that it'll help it deliver a commercial, off-the-shelf 5G service in the future.
Working with communications equipment maker Huawei, the test linked a virtualised 5G core to a 64x64 Massive MIMO active antenna unit broadcasting 5G New Radio.
EE claimed that virtualising these network technologies can reduce costs, increase efficiency and help create new services. The technology is being shown off at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum this week.
Using Huawei's proof-of-concept baseband unit, the telco linked its 5G core network to 100MHz of 3.5GHz test spectrum. As a result, high speeds and high latency rates were delivered end-to-end.
Standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is currently working on the first official, global standards outlining how 5G will be built. EE's 5G architecture is aligned with Option three of 3GPP Release 15, which will be finalised next month.
Tom Bennett, director of network services and devices at EE, said: "We're using our experience in cutting edge 4G technologies and our dedicated partnership approach to ensure technology leadership in 5G.
"The network architecture we've proven today is a huge step forward, and will drive our ambitious rollout timetable to be first for 5G."
However, Paul Carter, CEO of Global Wireless Solutions, said there's still a lot of disparities between different implementations of the technology. "In its current state, 5G refers to a variety of new technologies and requirements, rather than a concrete standard, such as 4G," he said.
Carter continued: "For example, Samsung and Korea Telecom in South Korea are developing a ‘5G' mobile phone network that can provide data throughputs of up to 2.3 Gbps, while by comparison AT&T's planned ‘5G' rollout in the US will start at just 400Mbps with only ‘theoretical' top speeds hitting the gigabit range.
"There is also the interesting problem separate to standards on what spectrum 5G will be using. The proposed spectrum for 5G varies significantly between countries, so agreement needs to first be met between operators, regulators and phone manufacturers.
In the UK, Ofcom is making available a number of wavebands, including 700 MHz, 3.4 to 3.8 GHz, and 26 GHz for first wave of 5G equipment."
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