SoftBank, Ericsson plan 5G Japan trial in 4.5GHz band

Japan’s SoftBank plans to work with Ericsson to conduct a joint trial of “5G” in the 4.5-GHz band in dense urban areas of Japan.  The end-to-end trial will involve two 5G new radios, a virtual RAN and EPC, beamforming, Massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) functionality and test support services.

The trial is set to commence once Softbank obtains an experimental 5G license, Ericsson said.

Editors Note: Of course, no one knows what the “5G” air interface/RAN will be for this trial, because it’s not even been considered by ITU-R WP 5D which is standardizing IMT 2020. That 5G standardization work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

The key question is where will the “5G” endpoints/handsets come from?  Ericsson doesn’t make ’em any more!  Neither does Nokia which is involved in several other “5G” trials.  Huawei and ZTE “5G” trials are in better shape, because both vendors make handsets/smartphones as well as base stations.

3GPP Progress on 5G can be found in this presentation. It’s crucial to note that 3GPP Release 15 (to be completed March 2018) will aim at a first phase of expected “5G” deployments in 2020 and is dependent on LTE.  3GPP Release 16 (true 5G) will target a submission to the ITU WP5D IMT-2020 standards committee.

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In March 2017, SoftBank was granted an experimental licence to conduct tests in the 28GHz millimeter wave band and teamed up with Ericsson for trials that were to be conducted in indoor and outdoor environments covering both mobile and stationary tests. That followed more basic tests in the 4.5-GHz and 15-GHz bands in Tokyo in 2016.

The operator also recently announced plans to deploy Ericsson’s Radio Dot system across Japan to improve indoor coverage in high-density urban areas. Softbank has been testing the technology since 2015.

SoftBank announced in June it was working with ZTE to run trials on the 4.5GHz band in areas of metropolitan Tokyo.

SoftBank also is planning tests on the 4GHz and 15GHz bands and began conducting pre-standard 5G field trials with Ericsson in August 2016.  It deployed Massive MIMO on its 4G network in the second half of 2016.

The wireless network operator, with a 19 per cent market share in Japan, aims to be one of the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services in 2020 or soon thereafter.  SoftBank wants to be one of the first global network operators to deploy 5G services once the standardization process is complete and seeks to position itself as a pioneer of 5G.

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/2017/8/ericsson-and-softbank-trial-5g-in-4.5ghz-band

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/softbank-ericsson-trial-5g-45-ghz

https://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2017/08/31/softbank-ericsson-to-trial-5g-using-4-5ghz-band/

ftp://www.3gpp.org/Information/presentations/presentations_2016/3GPP%20RAN%20Progress%20on%205G%20-%20NetFutures.pdf

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