Optus taps Nokia for 5G tech to enhance stadium experiences

With crowds slowly returning to outdoor venues in Australia after lockdown, comms tech provider and leading local operator deliver gigabit wireless in-stadium connectivity

Of all the use cases for 5G, improving in-stadium experiences with next-generation networks has stood out, with operators around the world, especially in Australia, seeing the huge potential benefits. In the latest example of this, Nokia has fitted out 5G services at the Optus Stadium in Perth on behalf of the local operator that has naming rights to the arena.

Nokia sees great potential for its 5G offerings to help deliver enhanced stadium user experiences. It says the next generation’s inherent low-latency, high-bandwidth connectivity can enable spectators to stream ultra HD video from their smartphones with different camera angles in real time, as well as information overlays to enhance the performance.

It adds that venue operators can also benefit from enhanced retail opportunities, enhanced video capture and processing capabilities for critical functions such as security, and support for building automation and inventory management.

With Australia now slowly returning to normal after the Covid lockdown and permitting the return of limited numbers of spectators to sporting arenas, as witnessed by the latest cricket test matches, communications at the Optus Stadium have been upgraded to enable visitors attending sporting or music events to take advantage of what Nokia says will be super-fast connectivity enhancing the in-stadium experiences.

This will be achieved by Optus deploying Nokia’s 5G indoor and outdoor radio system, with reported peak speeds of 1.1Gbps downlink and 100Mbps uplink for lightning-fast 5G coverage throughout the Western Australian venue.

Through professional services expertise in supporting events with advanced network planning and cognitive services, Nokia believes Optus’s customers can enjoy excellent 5G coverage and high improvement in both downlink and uplink speed across the venue.

To provide outdoor 5G coverage at the Optus Stadium, Nokia has deployed technology from its AirScale Radio Access portfolio, including 5G RAN, AirScale base stations and its AirScale Micro Remote.

AirScale technology is also being used to provide coverage for indoor zones, such as corporate boxes or VIP areas. The system supports major network technologies and is designed to ease upgrade from 4G to 5G new radio (NR). It also includes indoor small cells designed to deliver a consistent 5G user experience, with high data rates across multiple zones and enhanced coverage and capacity in public spaces.

“5G will be transformative in the home, at work and when we are at play, like cheering on your team or singing along to your favourite artist,” said Optus Network Australia CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin. “We know people have been eager to get back into Optus Stadium with a full crowd and with Optus 5G now enabled throughout the stadium, fans will be able to connect at the speed of their excitement.”

Tommi Uitto, president of mobile networks at Nokia, added: “We are delighted to partner with Optus to deliver these extraordinary 5G experiences at Optus Stadium. Nokia is proud to support Optus’s pioneering vision for compelling indoor and outdoor 5G coverage, both here and across the Optus network.”

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