Verizon, Qualcomm and Nokia team up for first 3GPP compliant call

Verizon is claiming it is the first operator to have completed an over-the-air call on a 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio (NR) system using licensed spectrum, alongside Qualcomm and Nokia.

The test itself made use of Verizon’s millimetre wave spectrum, Nokia’s 5G network technology on a 5G NR prototype device provided by Qualcomm. The news follows another announcement that Verizon had connected its CEO Lowell McAdam to KT CEO Chang-Gyu Hwang over video using 5G end-to-end (E2E) solutions, as the incremental steps towards a 5G reality start to add up.

“With this first 3GPP NR standards-based connection, Verizon continues to lead the development of 5G technology,” said Ed Chan, senior vice president and chief technology architect, Corporate Network & Technology, Verizon. “By partnering with Nokia and Qualcomm to combine 5G technology with our deep millimeter wave spectrum, we’re well on the way to being the first to usher in the next era of wireless communications for customers.”

The industry is continuously edging closer to 5G with a barrage of minor announcements, but just because they are small breakthroughs doesn’t mean the dream is not becoming a reality. The industry might be getting a bit bored of the 5G white noise, but instances like this make us believe telcos such as Verizon might be able to meet the blue-sky promises of 5G services by the end of the year.

As part of the test, Nokia provided various solutions including AirScale baseband and radio, AirFrame server, and AirScale Cloud RAN, while Qualcomm brought its 5G NR millimetre wave prototype device to the party. The test was built on progress made in an interoperability test between the two vendors last week. Adding Verizon into the equation was simply the next step in the journey.

Verizon has big ideas in the 5G world and has proven time and time again it is one of the leading lights worldwide. The first launch of 5G looks to be in Sacramento in the second half of year alongside Samsung, but Verizon has promised wireless residential broadband services in three to five US markets across 2018. Verizon estimates the market opportunity for initial 5G residential broadband services to be approximately 30 million households nationwide.

It might just be another small step, but the finish line is starting to get a lot closer.

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