Optus has signed an MoU with Nokia to collaborate on a 5G trial using its 3500MHz spectrum, a globally harmonised band by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for mobile broadband usage.

Optus and Nokia will undertake an early 5G prototype in Optus’s band in Australia by 2017.

Optus has conducted initial closed tests with Nokia at its Sydney headquarters on a new 5G radio test bed on Nokia’s Airscale product. The demonstration highlighted 5G speed capability with the delivery of Virtual Reality video content.

It also showed ultra-reliable low-latency networking enabling new industrial use cases such as real-time responsive robots.

At the same time, Optus is preparing the network across transport and core networks, through virtualised network functions and cloud infrastructure. In addition, a trial has been completed demonstrating the capability of Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) to support the connectivity needs of IoT applications.

Nokia and Optus will collaborate on a wide range of areas including:

- Promoting 5G global standardisation and industrialisation – Optus through Singtel participates in the NGMN Alliance to give operator inputs to 5G standardisation.

- Nokia will share the latest 3GPP and ITU 5G technology design concepts, new product launches, innovations and technologies.

- Exploration and trials for new network architectures and applications – to prepare Optus and Singtel for future 5G deployments.

- Building technology leadership in 5G – a demonstration of pre-commercial 5G systems at a major sporting event.

Tay Soo Meng, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel
There is a global race to explore and develop 5G technology, and in Australia, Optus is well positioned to lead in this space with our ownership of 3.5GHz, and close partnerships with our vendors including Nokia.

Ray Owen, head of Oceania at Nokia
Nokia is at the forefront of 5G research and standardisation and has taken huge strides in bringing this technology closer to reality. We have a number of ongoing 5G innovation projects with operators around the world and we hope to bring the same commitment to our partnership with Optus and Singtel.