BT, Nokia combine four channels of spectrum on 5G standalone network

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UK incumbent, BT claims that it is the first operator in Europe to aggregate four carrier components (4CC) in a 5G standalone live network. 

The breakthrough marks the next phase of 5G on its EE mobile network. Working in collaboration with Nokia, BT’s Networks team successfully combined four low-band and mid-band radio channels, (2.1, 2.6, 3.4, 3.6GHz), using Nokia’s 5G radio access network technology in EE’s live network spectrum.

The trial was conducted in two stages; it was first performed in BT’s Radio Lab in Bristol, and then moved outdoors, onto a radio mast at BT’s Adastral Park in Suffolk, where the team successfully achieved 4CC on 5G SA radiating in EE’s regular radio spectrum. Most 5G networks today are considered non-standalone, meaning that 5G is supported by existing 4G infrastructure. 5G carrier aggregation over a standalone network could be a big step forward for 5G infrastructure, effectively combining several transmission bands into one connection. Every new carrier added allows for higher capacity and speed directly to customer devices.

Greg McCall, managing director service platforms at BT, comments: ‘Our trial with Nokia is another demonstration of building the most advanced network for our customers. 5G standalone, coupled with edge compute, will unlock new opportunities for customers looking to develop new services. Furthermore, this technology showcases what’s possible for devices in the future in terms of supporting carrier aggregation, which is an important part of customer experience.’

Mark Atkinson, SVP, radio access networks PLM, Nokia, adds: ‘We are once again delighted to be deepening our partnership with BT, supporting them with our industry-leading carrier aggregation technology for this trial. Nokia and BT have a long history in investing in cutting-edge technologies and this trial is another example of what our companies can achieve together.’

A Verizon technician testing 5G service in Houston (credit: Verizon)

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A Verizon technician testing 5G service in Houston (credit: Verizon)

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Image credit: University of Glasgow, James Watt School of Engineering

23 November 2021

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