Verizon, Qualcomm and Ericsson demo dynamic spectrum sharing in US

US comms giant Verizon teams with Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson to use dynamic spectrum sharing technology to extend reach and hasten development of 5G Ultra Wideband network

Hot on the heels of a similar project with Switzerland’s incumbent telco, Qualcomm Technologies has revealed that it has been working with US telco Verizon and communications technology firm Ericsson on tests of dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) in 5G networks.

In the proof-of-concept demonstration, the partners successfully trialled technology that allows 5G services to run on multiple spectrum bands, including those historically reserved for 4G LTE services. When commercially deployed in the near future, this new technology will allow Verizon to use its full portfolio of current spectrum resources to serve both 4G and 5G customers.

Running 5G technology on low- or mid-band spectrum historically reserved for 4G will complement Verizon’s primary strategy of offering a keenly differentiated 5G Ultra Wideband service on millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum. 

In one such use case, Verizon is partnering with Snapchat creator Snap to use its 5G infrastructure to support new visual communications and content experiences, including augmented reality (AR). Verizon believes its 5G Ultra Wideband network will allow video streaming with virtually no buffering, video chatting with near zero lag and augmented reality that responds in near real time. 

“As market demands for our services shift between 4G and 5G, we need to be able to shift our resources to efficiently meet those demands,” said Verizon senior vice-president of network planning Adam Koeppe. “Dynamic spectrum sharing will allow us to allocate those resources in real time so we use our current spectrum effectively while also providing our customers the precise experience they need.”

“As market demands for our services shift between 4G and 5G, we need to be able to shift our resources to efficiently meet those demands”
Adam Koeppe, Verizon

The trial took the form of an over-the-air, dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) 5G data call carried out in Ericsson’s lab in Richardson, Texas. Ericsson Spectrum Sharing technology saw use in dynamically sharing spectrum between 4G and 5G carriers based on traffic demand. The switch between carriers happened within milliseconds, which minimised spectrum waste and, said the partners, allowed for best user performance.

The sharing technology is compatible with all 5G FDD-capable smartphones and other devices based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G mobile platform with the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System. Similar spectrum-sharing technology was used by Swisscom in a 5G data call to help realise its goal of reaching 90% 5G coverage of Switzerland by the end of 2019.

With dynamic spectrum sharing, when customers move outside Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage area, their 5G-enabled devices will remain on 5G technology using lower bands of spectrum. 

“We will continue to focus on providing 5G over millimetre wave – especially in high-density areas like airports, stadiums and urban areas – to continue to deliver the unique experience customers associate with 5G and that are only possible on mmWave technology,” Koeppe added. “However, with dynamic spectrum sharing we will be able to supplement mmWave deployments and accelerate the deployment of 5G in low- and mid-band spectrum for customers as we continue to build out our Ultra Wideband network.”

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