Industry News

Report: Globally, more 5G trials at higher speeds


The pace of 5G trials has been escalating dramatically, with more and more tests at higher speeds, according to a recent study from VIAVI Solutions. The study also revealed other trends, including how quickly tests have been springing up in many geographical markets.

So far, 72 network operators are testing 5G, with 28 already in field trials. The total figure is nearly triple the number from a year ago. The report singled out two providers – Etisalat and Ooredoo – for launching limited, pre-commercial 5G services in the Middle East.

“Network service providers have been grappling with the evolution to 5G for some time, including how to address technology challenges such as fixed mobile convergence, hybrid cloud, network slicing and increasing virtualization,” said Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer, VIAVI Solutions. “Virtual test, automation, self-optimization and analytics will be essential to dealing with the growing complexity and scale of 5G networks, while managing demand for high data rates, very low latency applications and large-scale IoT services.”

The bulk of 5G trials were in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region, followed by the Asian Pacific and finally the Americas.

Operators reported some impressive 5G test speeds, with Etisalat leading the pack with 71 Gbps. The fastest speeds in the Americas was Movistar’s 20 Gbps, while T-Mobile’s 12 Gbps was the best in the United States. The average speed, however, was much lower, as only four operators reported speeds over 70 Gbps and another six reporting speeds in excess of 35 Gbps.

When it came to spectrum, most American trials – including C Spire, U.S. Cellular, Spectrum and T-Mobile – operated in the 28 GHz band. Comcast chose the 3.5 GHz band and AT&T chose 39 GHz. Meanwhile, Verizon and Sprint trialed 5G in the 60-70 GHz and 70-80 GHz bands, respectively.

With the exception of C Spire and Comcast, all the American 5G experiments have reached field trials. C Spire is currently in lab trials while Comcast has only announced plans for trials.

The hardware for these tests came mostly from Ericsson (30 percent), Huawei (22 percent) and Nokia (21 percent). In total, 14 network equipment manufacturers are participating.

All statistics were based only on “publicly available sources,” according to VIAVI.



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