BT, Nokia team for first European channel aggregation on a 5G standalone network

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

BT is the first operator in Europe to combine four channels in a live 5G Standalone (SA) network.

The breakthrough of four carrier components (4CC) is key for the next phase of 5G of roll out for its EE mobile network using pure 5G systems rather than relying on existing 4G infrastructure in the non-standalone (NSA) mode.

The demonstration with Nokia combines four low-band and mid-band radio channels, (2.1, 2.6, 3.4, 3.6 GHz) using Nokia’s 5G Radio Access Network technology in EE’s live network spectrum with
MediaTek’s M80 5G.

The trial was conducted in two stages; it was first performed in BT’s Radio Lab in Bristol, and then moved outdoors, onto a radio mast at BT’s Adastral Park in Suffolk, where the team successfully achieved 4CC on 5G SA radiating in EE’s regular radio spectrum. Not only is it the first time in Europe that a network operator has achieved 4CC on 5G SA using commercial spectrum, but it is also the first time it has been achieved outside of a lab in Europe.

5G Carrier Aggregation over a standalone network represents a major leap forward in the evolution of 5G infrastructure, effectively combining several transmission bands into one connection. Every new carrier added allows for higher capacity and speed directly to customer devices.

“Our trial with Nokia is another demonstration of building the most advanced network for our customers. 5G Standalone, coupled with edge compute, will unlock new opportunities for customers looking to develop new services. Furthermore, this technology showcases what’s possible for devices in the future in terms of supporting carrier aggregation, which is an important part of customer experience.” Said Greg McCall, Managing Director Service Platforms at BT.

“Nokia and BT have a long history in investing in cutting-edge technologies and this trial is another example of what our companies can achieve together,” said Mark Atkinson, SVP, Radio Access Networks at Nokia.;;

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