Nokia, Taiwan Mobile claim first 5G carrier aggregation call in standalone architecture

Trial declared successful in aggregating spectrum in the 700MHz and 3500MHz bands for the first time to deliver enhanced connectivity and increased coverage and support Taiwanese operator’s vision to deliver 5G services.

As part of its strategy to ramp up services based on its growing next-generation architecture, Taiwan Mobile (TWM) has revealed that tests it has carried out with leading comms tech firm Nokia has achieved the world’s first New Radio Carrier Aggregation (NR CA) by combining spectrum in the 700MHz (n28) and 3500MHz (n78) spectrum bands.

TWM provides mobile, fixed-line, cable TV and broadband services. Claiming to be a forerunner in digital innovation, the company said that it is working to reposition itself as a next-gen technology firm leading the next revolution in sectors of telecommunications, internet, media and entertainment, and e-commerce by implementing a 6C strategy encompassing coverage, convergence, content, channel, cloud and CSR.

TWM officially launched 5G services on 1 July 2020, launching a rebranding initiative to reinvent itself into a company advocating the brand spirit of Open Possible.

In deploying the technology needed to achieve these aims, carrier aggregation can combine frequency bands for higher rates and is designed to increase coverage, deliver superior network capacity and maximise the spectral efficiency of 5G networks.

In June 2021, TWM selected the Finnish comms technology firm as its sole supplier of its 5G network in a three-year framework contract. The deal covers 5G RAN, 5G Core and 5G IMS including its latest AirScale Radio Access products. Nokia has been a long-standing partner of TWM and is supporting the company in its efforts to execute its Super 5G strategy, which is focused on sustainability and digital transformation

The partners said that their trial, which took place in a 5G standalone (SA) network environment, paves the way for TWM to deliver market-leading 5G experiences to its customers with enhanced connectivity and capacity.  

The successful trial was performed with AirScale 5G SA architecture in TWM’s commercial 5G network, and combined two spectrum bands – frequency division duplex (FDD) in 700MHz (n28) and time division duplex (TDD) in 3500MHz (n78) – which are widely adopted in 5G networks worldwide.

Lower frequency band FDD provides wide-coverage area improving cell edge performance while TDD has a higher bandwidth and capacity. The firms said the combination of these spectrum bands offers enhanced capacity and coverage supporting a range of 5G deployment scenarios, including indoor and enhanced outdoor coverage. MediaTek supported the trial by providing equipment to verify network performance.

“This trial is an important milestone as we execute our 5G strategy and deliver best-in-class 5G services to our subscribers,” said Tom Koh, senior vice-president and chief technology officer of technology group Taiwan Mobile.

“Combining SA with NR CA, our 5G user experience is raised to the next level while the utilisation of our spectrum assets and 5G networks are maximised. We are pleased with our partnership with Nokia as we continue to advance deployment and build a thriving 5G ecosystem.”

Mark Atkinson, senior vice-president of radio access networks PLM at Nokia, added: “We are delighted to have completed this successful trial with our trusted partner, Taiwan Mobile. Aggregating spectrum is an efficient way to enable enhanced coverage and capacity. This successful trial highlights how mobile operators with similar spectrum allocation can achieve similar results.”

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