Nokia and du (UAE) complete 5G-Advanced RedCap trial; future or RedCap?

Nokia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) telco du announced the conclusion of what it claimed to be UAE’s first 5G-Advanced 5G Reduced Capability (RedCap) trial over a commercial network.  Nokia  said that this recent trial showcased the readiness of du’s 5G network for innovative use cases in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and Industry 4.0 to address 5G monetization challenges.

RedCap, sometimes referred to as (3GPP) 5G NR Light, is a reduced set of 5G capabilities intended for devices like wearables and low-cost hotspots that have low battery consumption, lower costs and lower bandwidth requirements. Introduced with 3GPP Release 17, 5G RedCap is designed for devices currently served by LTE CAT-4 but provides equivalent or better in performance with up to 150 Mbps theoretical maximum downlink throughput. This technology helps reduce the complexity, cost and size of 5G devices. The RedCap specification will be included in ITU-R M.2150-1.

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The trial participants used MediaTek’s T300 series RedCap test equipment in du’s 5G Standalone (SA) Radio Access Network (RAN) built with Nokia’s AirScale radio products, leveraging the existing mid-band Spectrum. This will follow extending RedCap over low band frequencies, ensuring extreme coverage and connectivity. Notably, the low band in 600MHz, is a vital connectivity band currently under discussion at the World Radio Conference WRC-23 taking place in Dubai.

With RedCap devices expected to be commercially available from 2024, it will significantly augment du’s diversified use case portfolio to include cost-efficient 5G home wireless, wearables, video surveillance, and wireless industrial sensors.

5G devices commonly feature intricate hardware and energy-intensive capabilities, resulting in higher cost, size, and power consumption. RedCap technology is dedicated to streamlining 5G devices, specifically targeting compact IoT devices like wearables and health trackers, as well as ruggedized routers and sensors for environmental or condition-based monitoring. These devices exhibit lower demands for battery life and reduced bandwidth requirements. RedCap ensures they sustain performance while optimizing their power efficiency. Nokia has been instrumental in driving the evolution of RedCap IoT functionality in collaboration with the telecommunications industry.

Saleem Alblooshi, Chief Technology Officer at du, said: “This collaboration introduces the revolutionary 5G-Advanced RedCap functionalities, enabling seamless connectivity of RedCap devices to cutting-edge 5G networks. Nokia’s unparalleled innovation simplifies and pioneers the development of 5G devices, particularly wearables and small IoT devices, significantly enhancing LTE-CAT4 performance and optimizing energy efficiency. These remarkable technological advancements are pivotal in propelling Industry 4.0 revolution.”

Mikko Lavanti, Senior Vice President at Nokia MEA, said: “This new collaboration between du and Nokia represents not only a significant step forward in the monetization of 5G technology but also solidifies the UAE’s position as a pioneer in the evolution of 5G use cases for society and enterprises. As the collaboration progresses, both companies are poised to revolutionize the way we experience and interact with 5G technology, unlocking unprecedented possibilities for innovation and connectivity.”

Dr. Ho-Chi Hwang, General Manager of Wireless Communication System and Partnerships at MediaTek, said: “It’s essential to bring new capabilities of 5G to the UAE, and this trial is an important step in that direction. We are proud to have provided our RedCap devices to further develop the ecosystem for 5G monetization. We hope, by pioneering the technology in the Middle East and Africa region, MediaTek will be able to assure our customers of more innovative 5G products and services coming their way.”

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Future of RedCap:

Counterpoint Research expects that 5G RedCap modules will make up 18% of total cellular IoT module shipments by 2030—what it describes as “significant market potential, particularly in developing nations where the cost is key to wide technology adoption for digital transformation.”

“If we want to tackle some of these interesting business cases and really get the price point so the business can take off, then we need to provide the right types of options,” said Paul Harris, principal architect in the Office of the CTO at Viavi Solutions. “People don’t want to be paying for chipsets that are too performant in the wrong types of devices.” Harris also noted that standards work on RedCap continues, with a series of recommendations on reducing RedCap’s performance even further with support of just five megahertz of bandwidth, even lower data rates and reduced peak data rates as well as additional power savings in the form of Extended Discontinuous Reception (allowing longer periods during which a device can power off). While that work on “eRedCap” is still taking shape in Release 18 and additional features may be available to scale down RedCap further in Release 19. “It’s still kind of a moving target and probably will continue to be, but there will probably be different categories that get introduced of RedCap as it goes on,” he said. Harris goes on to offer up a potential vision of a RedCap market where there is a gradual progression into some parts of the market addressed with the initial Rel. 17 RedCap options, and that by Rel. 19, a scaled-back RedCap market could open up for even lower-complexity, lower data-rate devices that then leads to an explosion of 5G sensor devices.

“5G is absolutely the directional technology,” said Bill Stone, VP of technology development and planning at Verizon. “I do think it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing all of IoT evolve over time, and it’s going to be starting as soon as next year. We’re going to see all of the IoT device community moving over to 5G, because that’s where—with 5G NR SA—we’re going to see the potential for much longer lifecycles [and] the ability to support that, to make commitments for longer-term support of IoT devices.”

References:

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2023/12/07/nokia-and-du-to-lead-in-uae-with-5g-advanced-redcap/

Standards leadership in action: How Nokia convinced the 5G world that less is more

Nokia and du complete 5G-Advanced RedCap trial

 

What will drive RedCap adoption? A carrot and a stick

Ericsson, Vodafone and Qualcomm: 1st Reduced Capability 5G data call in Europe

https://www.3gpp.org/technologies/redcap

ITU-R M.2150-1 (5G RAN standard) will include 3GPP Release 17 enhancements; future revisions by 2025

 

 

 

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