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London Hosts First UK 5G Fixed Wireless Trial As Samsung & Nokia Work On Interoperability

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Arqiva and Samsung will trial 5G on 28GHz in fixed wireless access tests as latter works with Nokia to ensure ecosystem is ready

London will host the first trial of 5G-powered fixed wireless access (FWA) in the UK to see if the technology can prove a viable alternative to fibre broadband.

The trials will be conducted by Arqiva and Samsung, the latter of which is participating in a similar pilot with Verizon in the US. Like that project, Samsung’s 5G access units will be used alongside 28GHz spectrum owned by Arqiva.

The tests will take place in the centre of the capital, which Samsung says is a “prime candidate” to show off the potential benefits of 5G. The partners say the comparative ease and speed at which users can be connected makes the technology a viable alternative to fibre broadband.

london city hall

London 5G Trials

“We have been watching the development of 5G very closely,” said Simon Beresford-Wylie, Arqiva CEO. “Over time, smarter network infrastructure and an enhanced ability to support exponential scale for connectivity will open the doors to further applications across a variety of markets such as IoT, industrial applications and the full promise of autonomous vehicles.

“Our existing network of infrastructure assets, including mobile masts and street furniture, will be essential to providing the network over which 5G will be delivered by MNOs across the UK.  Our trial with Samsung will demonstrate the enormous potential of 5G FWA as an alternative to fibre for delivering ultra-high speed connectivity to homes and businesses.”

Samsung has also announced it is working with Nokia to ensure their respective 5G technologies are interoperable. The two companies have been in talks since last year and have worked on the early stages of compatibility testing.

Engineers will focus on Samsung’s equipment and Nokia’s radio technology and expect to see the first deployments in the US and South Korea later this year before a commercial rollout a few years later.

“Ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals is a huge part of building a healthy 5G ecosystem,” said Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, Samsung’s head of next generation communications.

“Samsung is building the infrastructure and devices to ensure an end-to-end 5G solution. While we are working with device chipset vendors to ensure the widest selection of devices for operators, we are also happy to work with Nokia networks to ensure operators can use our 5G devices freely.”

5G networks are set to be a hot topic at next week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. The first commercial 5G services are set to go live in 2020 offering faster speeds, low latency and an impression of ‘infinite’ capacity.

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