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T-Mobile and Nokia proclaim another step towards 5G

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T-Mobile and Nokia have jointly announced another incremental step towards 5G Nirvana with a bi-directional over-the-air 5G data session.

The test, which took place in T-Mobile’s Bellevue lab in Washington, is claimed to be the nation’s first bi-directional over-the-air 5G data session on a 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio (NR) system, with a user equipment simulator and Nokia’s 3GPP-compliant high-capacity 5G solution in the 28 GHz band.

“This test is a big step forward in building real 5G that will work on actual smartphones,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. “We’re excited to continue our work with Nokia to move the future of wireless forward and bring 5G to customers!”

“This successful 3GPP compliant over-the-air data transmission represents an important step for T-Mobile and the commercialization of 5G,” said Marc Rouanne, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia. “By building on the tests Nokia has previously conducted with T-Mobile, T-Mobile is well on its way to 5G commercial deployment.”

Looking at the technical side, the 5G data transmission was conducted with the Nokia AirScale baseband and radio, AirFrame server, and AirScale Cloud RAN running 5G NR 3GPP-compliant software, building on other work such as T-Mobile’s deployment of its first inter-vendor 5G test platform.

Although genuine 5G is still years away, the news will add another bit of credibility to the T-Mobile 5G mission as it readies for battle against AT&T and Verizon, both of whom have put forward ambitious plans alongside the magenta army to be the first to deliver 5G in the US.

That said, it means very little for the consumer until 5G compatible handsets start to hit the market.

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