Nokia, BT Group, Qualcomm claim enhanced 5G Carrier Aggregation first

Comms tech provider and operator reveal successfull aggregation of 5G Standalone spectrum using 5CC Carrier Aggregation, making the latter the first European operator to achieve this milestone

A year after having demonstrated four component-carrier aggregation (4CC) in a 5G standalone (SA) downlink with concurrent 2CC CA in 5G SA uplink, Nokia and BT Group have announced they have now successfully aggregated 5G Standalone (SA) spectrum using 5CC Carrier Aggregation (5CC CA), making the UK’s leading telco first European operator to achieve what they call a  milestone.

The bottom line of the achievement, said the companies, is that they can now offer further performance uplift in connections from the device to the network by increasing throughput and capacity. Indeed, they said 5CC CA will significantly boost the data rates available to customers in areas of high demand by combining all mid-band radio spectrum when the 5G SA device requires a high-speed connection.

It’s also attributed with significantly boosting the data rates available to customers in areas of high demand by combining all mid-band radio spectrum when the 5G SA device requires a high-speed connection.

The tests were conducted in the field on live network spectrum at BT Group’s Adastral Park, headquarters for R&D, using Nokia’s 5G AirScale portfolio and a device powered by a Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF system from Qualcomm Technologies. Downlink speeds of 1.85 Gbps were reached, using three FDD carriers, NR2600 (30MHz), NR2100 (20MHz) and NR1800 (20MHz), aggregated with two TDD carriers, NR3600 (40+40MHz) with 150 MHz total bandwidth.

Set to launch later this year on the BT Group-owned EE’s 5G SA network, the technology is attributed with having the capability to leverage a low-frequency sixth carrier to provide a superior experience in more places, including indoors.

Greg McCall, chief networks officer at BT Group, said: “This latest milestone achieved with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies enhances 5G SA performance as we work towards the launch of our network, building further on the benefits of carrier aggregation in delivering greater throughput and speeds to customers.

“This is particularly important as more and more devices come to market with 5CC CA capabilities. We are focused on maximising our spectrum assets to deliver the very best experience to our customers with that in mind.”

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Mark Atkinson, SVP and Head of RAN at Nokia, added: “This successful trial with our long-standing partner, BT is another great example of Nokia’s clear leadership in 5G carrier aggregation technology. Multi-component carrier aggregation helps mobile operators to maximise their radio network assets and provide the highest 5G data rates at more locations to subscribers.”

“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to pushing the boundaries of 5G connectivity,” said Dino Flore, vice-president of technology at Qualcomm Europe. “Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems are designed to unlock the full potential of 5G, delivering unparalleled speed, efficiency and capacity for networks and their users.

“We are proud to work with Nokia and BT Group to play a key role in bringing this enhanced 5G experience to European consumers.”

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