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Nokia claims 3x carrier aggregation first with a bit of help from MediaTek

Just when you thought carrier aggregation couldn’t get any better Nokia and MediaTek have only gone and added another carrier to the mix.

In this context, carrier means a distinct chunk of radio frequency. Ideally what you want is one big contiguous chunk (a fat pipe), but an alternative is to cobble together a couple of them to achieve a similar outcome. That’s what this announcement concerns, with three bits of spectrum used to deliver 3.2 Gigabits per second of lovely 5G from a base station to a test device using the MediaTek M80 5G modem.

While claiming a ‘world first’, the press release is a bit light on specifics. We’re told at least one of the carriers was in the 600 MHz band, using FDD technology, while at least one other was in the 2600 MHz band using TDD. A total of 210 MHz of spectrum were used but we’re not told the split. Our guess would be 10 MHz of the 600 band and 2×100 MHz of the 2600 band. The idea seems to be that this combo offers capacity when the higher frequency is available but can still fall back to a minimal level of coverage when it’s not.

“This validation test demonstrates how mobile operators can maximize their spectrum allocations and deliver enhanced coverage and capacity to subscribers,” said Mark Atkinson, SVP, Radio Access Networks PLM at Nokia.

“This test demonstrates the importance of carrier aggregation in enabling mobile operators around the world to deliver best-in-class speed and capacity to their subscribers,” said JS Pan, General Manager, Wireless Communication System, and Partnerships at MediaTek. The combination of Nokia’s AirScale portfolio and our technology boosts the possibilities of spectrum assets and 5G networks. We look forward to continuing to partner with Nokia to advance the 5G ecosystem.”

It’s still not clear what the ‘world first’ claim refers to. Is it the aggregation of three carriers? Is it the combination of FDD and TDD in one transmission? Is it the total bandwidth achieved? It’s as if they’re trying to provoke journalists by failing to substantiate hyperbolic claims made in the headline. After all, that’s our job.

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5 comments

  1. Avatar Alan Jonathan Weissberger 08/10/2021 @ 1:45 am

    Yes, it is your job Scott and we are grateful for that.  However, few other journalists (except yours truly) hardly ever scrutinize a press release or news announcement.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 08/10/2021 @ 9:13 am

      You’re doing a lot of moaning and self-promoting on this site Alan. Why don’t you take it down a notch?

  2. Avatar alan J weissberger 09/10/2021 @ 4:53 pm

    Thanks again Scott for being an investigative journalist that questions vendor claims.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 11/10/2021 @ 9:14 am

      Thank you.

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