Vodafone and Huawei have jointly completed the world’s first call using the Non-standalone (NSA) 3GPP 5G new radio (NR) standard and sub6 GHz spectrum. The call, using a test network, took place in Spain just ahead of Mobile World Congress.
The standards organisation 3GPP agreed the Non-standalone global standard for 5G as part of its ‘Release 15’ in December 2017.
In the test, a dual connectivity 4G to 5G live data call was completed using a test device. The connection started on 4G and then established the data connection on 5G. The engineers also successfully tested a live HD video call using the same route.
The test is believed to be the first demonstration of all end-to-end elements of a 5G call (not just data over a 5G connection, but also all the control information required to set up the call and route it between 4G and 5G networks). A 5G NR end-to-end test network was built to undertake the trial and used 3.7GHz spectrum. Huawei Radio Access Network (RAN) and core network equipment was deployed to support the test with micro-service centric architecture, control plane / user plane separation, unified access and network slicing technology.
Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone’s Group Head of Networks Strategy and Architecture, said:
“This is a significant milestone for Vodafone towards the introduction of 5G. The credit for this must go to the engineers in Huawei and Vodafone who have worked tirelessly since December. This successful test will enable us to move forward with further trials of 5G across Europe during 2018.”
Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei’s 5G product line, said:
“Huawei is fully committed to the further development of this end-to-end 5G network technology. This test result shows the maturity of 5G based on the 3GPP standard. We are ready to continue our collaboration with Vodafone and enter commercial trials.”
Dr.Peter Meissner, CEO and Member of the Board, NGMN Alliance said: “This first 5G call has been achieved only two months after 3GPP completed the Non-standalone NR standard and so is much sooner than most in the industry were expecting it to happen. This sends out the very promising signal to the world that the industry is ready to introduce 5G services for customers in due course.”
The test call will be demonstrated throughout Mobile World Congress on the Vodafone stand in Hall 3 (3D 30).