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AIS, ZTE, Qualcomm claim first for 5G NR-DC at 2.6GHz, 26GHz in Thailand 

Thai operator teams with comms tech providers for a ‘milestone’ in enhancing the capabilities of 5G network and ecosystem, showcasing 5G New Radio Dual Connectivity in the field achieving 8.5Gbps peak downlink speed and 2.17Gbps peak uplink speed with a single mobile device

Advanced Info Service (AIS), Qualcomm Technologies and ZTE have announced what is said to be the world’s first 5G New Radio Dual Connectivity (NR-DC) showcase in Thailand, in a move that they say accelerates the progress of commercialising 5G mmWave in the country, meeting consumers’ and industries’ diverse requirements.

AIS claims to be Thailand’s leading digital life service provider with the most spectra to provide service, including the 1450MHz band, boasting the most subscribers in the country, with over 42.7 million subscribers as of March 2021. It says is ready to power Thailand with 5G technology, which currently covers 77 provinces.

The test is said to have achieved an 8.5Gbps peak downlink speed and 2.17Gbps peak uplink speed with a single mobile device. As part of the joint effort, the collaboration combines two major 5G frequency bands, Sub-6 and 5G mmWave – in the 2.6GHz and 26GHz frequency ranges – to enhance the capabilities of Thailand’s 5G network and extend the 5G application landscape.

The NR-DC showcase is seen as driving the commercial progress of 5G mmWave into the fast lane in Thailand. AIS, Qualcomm Technologies and ZTE say they are committed to accelerating and growing 5G for capability enhancement, efficiency improvement and application boundary extension or new use cases on personal devices as well as in enterprise and industrial settings.  

The test was conducted at the AIS commercial 5G site in Korat, Thailand, using a smartphone form-factor test device powered by the Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System, and ZTE’s latest mmWave AAU network infrastructure equipment.  The NR-DC was implemented with one 100MHz carrier in 2.6GHz, and four 200MHz carriers in 26GHz. The test achieved 8.5Gbps peak downlink speed and 2.1Gbps peak uplink speed, demonstrating, said the partners, the “extraordinary” capability and flexibility of NR-DC for diversified requirements from individual consumers and industry leaders.

“AIS’s key goal is to develop the smart 5G network as a national infrastructure,” said Wasit Wattanasap, head of nationwide operation and support department at advanced info service at AIS. “We are the licensee holding the most spectrum in low-band, mid-band and high-band or mmWave, which has the outstanding feature of rapid data transmission with low latency. We have never stopped deploying innovations to level up the network, including 5G Non Standalone (NSA)/ Standalone (SA), Voice over New Radio (VoNR) and 5G carrier aggregation (CA), to provide increasingly improved experiences to Thai customers, which was our intention when we joined the auction for spectra.”

“Most recently, we have continued our collaboration with ZTE and Qualcomm Technologies to jointly trial 5G NR-DC technology. It is a crucial step to combine different 5G spectra, 2600MHz (mid-band) and 26GHz (high-band) in a world first. This enables downloads of up to 8.5Gbps, and uplinks of up to 2.17Gbps.

“This trial gave us a wider channel for the signal and extremely low latency. For instance, there could be streaming games online (Cloud Game), controlling driverless vehicles and commanding robots remotely in real time. Moreover, the trial supports the development of new models of chipsets in the future, to speed up data transfer even more.”

Wattanasap added: “This cooperation highlights how AIS is the only provider using its licensed spectrum of every waveband for development to support business growth in various dimensions. It is also continuous transformation and updates for Thai consumers. Taking this joint trial as a good start, we are confident that AIS 5G network is ready to expand the use of mmWave technology and support growth of the business sector in various aspects.”

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