UK incumbent telco BT announced today that it has successfully demonstrated two component carrier aggregation (2CC CA) on the uplink of a 5G SA network at its Adastral Park research centre. The 5G SA technology was supplied by Nokia and Qualcomm.
BT also simultaneously achieved 4CC CA on the downlink, and claims it is the first telco in Europe to have demonstrated 5G SA uplink and downlink carrier aggregation at the same time. In terms of throughput, BT recorded a peak download speed of 1 Gbps and peak upload of 230 Mbps.
- BT Group and Nokia demonstrated enhanced 5G SA uplink performance through aggregation of two spectrum carriers in field trial in live network spectrum
- Aggregation of two frequency bands for uplink boosts performance for EE’s future 5G SA network, key to supporting growing customer use-cases such as gaming and live-streaming
- BT Group first in Europe to achieve both 2CC CA uplink and 4CC CA downlink simultaneously
When BT detailed its wideband FDD trial, it noted that the 5G SA specification from 3GPP is currently based on a single uplink carrier, so why try and aggregate uplink carriers? BT said that uplink carrier aggregation is something to have handy in future, when data demand inevitably calls for ever more uplink capacity.
5G Carrier Aggregation over a 5G SA network, which combines several transmission bands into one connection, is a key capability to deliver the high-performance 5G service that customers expect. Every new carrier added allows for higher capacity and speed directly to customer devices.
Last year, BT and Nokia announced 5G SA 4CC CA downlink. Now, by achieving both 5G SA 2CC CA uplink and 4CC CA downlink simultaneously, BT can deliver significant uplift in connections performance from the device to the network by increasing throughput and capacity, as well as unlocking scope to push uplink performance further in the future.
The tests were conducted at BT Group’s facility in Adastral Park, UK, using Nokia’s 5G AirScale portfolio and a device powered by a Snapdragon® 5G Modem-RF System from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., following initial lab-based trials.* Speeds of over 230 Mbps in the uplink were reached — including the wider 5G FDD carrier at 40 MHz in 2600 MHz — as well as over 1 Gbps in the downlink. The demonstration was conducted with 15, 30 and 40 MHz NR2600 carrier independently aggregated with a 40 MHz NR3500 carrier component.
The work is part of BT Group’s efforts to ensure that, when 5G SA services are launched over EE, it maintains its unbeatable 5G network for customers.**
Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer, BT Group, commented: “Carrier aggregation will be key to delivering the very best 5G experience to our customers, with this latest trial in partnership with Nokia demonstrating significant performance increases in terms of uplink speeds. This builds on last year’s success of achieving 4CA in 5G SA downlink, and we look forward to achieving further milestones in this space as we continue to progress towards 5G SA.”
Mark Atkinson, SVP, Radio Access Networks PLM at Nokia, said: “This successful trial with our long-standing partner BT, is another great example of Nokia’s unrivalled 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 to subscribers in more locations.”
Enrico Salvatori, Senior Vice President and President, Qualcomm Europe/MEA, Qualcomm Europe Inc, said: “We are proud of our continued collaboration with BT to bring our latest 5G technologies to consumers. 2CC uplink carrier aggregation is expected to improve uplink speeds by up to 2X, to give a better user experience overall. Consumers would potentially be able to upload and share higher quality videos faster online, such as when attending concerts and when watching and streaming games online. We look forward to the future and what else is to come with our continued collaboration with BT.
* Snapdragon is a trademark or registered trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated.
** ‘Unbeatable 5G network’: Based on analysis from the RootMetrics® UK RootScore® Report, H1 (Jan – June) 2023. Tested at locations across the UK with the best commercially available smartphones on 4 national mobile networks across all available network types. Your experiences may vary. The RootMetrics award is not an endorsement of EE. Visit ee.co.uk/claims for more details.
BT Group is the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications and related secure digital products, solutions and services. We also provide managed telecommunications, security and network and IT infrastructure services to customers across 180 countries.
BT Group consists of three customer-facing units: Business covers companies and public services in the UK and internationally; Consumer serves individuals and families in the UK; Openreach is an independently governed, wholly owned subsidiary wholesaling fixed access infrastructure services to its customers – over 650 communications providers across the UK.
British Telecommunications plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For more information, visit www.bt.com/about