5G partnership of the day – BT and Nokia

Everyone who’s anyone has a 5G partnership these days and it’s good to see the UK belatedly joining the party, as BT announced a new collaboration with Nokia.

“Next generation 5G networks took a step forward today,” proclaimed BT in its press release announcing it will be working with Nokia on “potential customer use cases for 5G technologies, the creation of 5G proof-of-concept trials and the development of the emerging technology standards and equipment.”

Some of the specific tech the two will be looking at includes: millimetre wave radio, commercialisation of ‘ultrafast’ mobile broadband, mission-critical services and, of course, IoT. The announcement reiterates the expectation that 5G will deliver mobile broadband speeds in excess of 1 Gbps and latency of around 1 ms, which in turn will enable groovy things like VR, 360-degree video streaming and mobile remote control. But they expect the big win from 5G to be more in the area of network optimisation, with greater flexibility to tailor connectivity services according to need.

“It’s still early days for 5G technology, but experience tells us that a collaborative approach is key to success,” said Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations. “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.”

“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’,” said Cormac Whelan, head of the UK & Ireland at Nokia. “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 two are already conducting trials at BT’s labs in Adastral Park, Suffolk, using Nokia’s AirScale gear to tinker with things like 4×100 MHz carrier aggregation. Inevitably this announcement builds on the existing relationship through which Nokia supplies things like BT’s 21C core routing platform and part of the EE RAN.

With new 5G partnerships emerging on a daily basis we will presumably reach ‘peak partnership’ by the end of the year. Then comes the somewhat more complicated business working out what the hell 5G actually is.

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