MTN and ZTE have partnered to test of 5G technology in Africa and the Middle East in a move they say will accelerate the commercialisation of 5G in both regions.
The trials are set to begin in 2018 and will include field and laboratory tests of 5G Ne Radio, DevOps, 5G virtual network partition and Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC).
Babak Fouladi, Group Executive for Technology and Information Systems at MTN told Nairobi-based Africa Business Communities that the latest partnership with ZTE builds on previous collaboration between the two companies.
"After having collaborated extensively in 2G, 3G and 4G, we are excited to work with ZTE in 5G. We believe that 5G is an evolutionary step to provide connectivity, data and access to our customers. We look forward to continuing our journey of innovation in the area of 5G and thus strengthen the current collaboration, in addition to exploring together the future orientation of the construction of networks and the progress of technology and bring services to our customers."
MTN and ZTE say the tests they will carry out on networks, applications and integral terminals using the architecture of the 5G technology will help make the business model and the user experience that can be drawn from the technology clear and inform plans for deployment in the Middle East and Africa.
'Significant' user experience gains
Ahead of the local tests by MTN and ZTE, Qualcomm announced yesterday that an extensive 5G network simulation the company conducted in Europe and the US over the past several months demonstrated the significant potential of 5G. They based this on quantitative insights into the expected real-world performance and user experience of 5G and Gigabit LTE devices that operate in Non-Standalone (NSA) multimode 4G/5G NR networks.
Qualcomm says its findings also provide quantitative support for the significant gains in capacity that can be realised by 5G NR over 4G LTE, as the technology industry prepares for the first wave of 5G networks and devices in the first half of 2019.
Alex Holcman, senior vice president of engineering at Qualcomm Technologies says their evaluations were done in order to help the industry in readying itself for a move to 5G.
"There is a lot of interest from various stakeholders in the mobile ecosystem – cloud platform providers, application developers, device OEMs, and others – in understanding the real-world performance that 5G NR mobile networks and devices will deliver. We undertook this comprehensive study to help the ecosystem prepare for the foray into 5G, so that application developers, for example, can begin planning new experiences and services for users with 5G devices."
Results from the Qualcomm 5G Network Capacity Simulation show that emerging 5G networks will have the capacity and performance to support more services and experiences beyond the traditional categories of browsing, downloading, and streaming.
In a newly released report on the potential of 5G that surveyed opinions from 900 decision makers in companies from key sectors that employ no less than 1,000 employees (African firms included), Ericsson found that the main drivers behind using 5G, from a technology point of view, are much greater bandwidth, the ability to have a 'slice' of the network one owns, and delivery of faster, more secure transactions.
This is as respondents raised concerns about key barriers to adopting 5G in their organisation include concerns around data security and privacy, lack of standards, and the challenges of end-to-end implementation.