Nokia announced it signed a deal to supply 5G base stations to NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile operator, marking the vendor’s first major 5G contract after the first formal 5G New Radio (NR) standard was approved in December 2017.
In a statement, Nokia said it will support Docomo’s 5G operation by upgrading existing baseband units and integrating its 5G NR-based AirScale hardware in the network, with 5G commercial service targeted by 2020, in time for the Tokyo Olympics.
Financial terms of the contract weren’t disclosed.
In May 2017 Docomo announced plans, in collaboration with Nokia and Intel, to run a series of pre-standard 5G trials on the 4.5GHz band in the Tokyo metropolitan area by the end of the year.
Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks at Nokia, said: “Together we have worked hard in recent months to commence preparations for NTT Docomo’s eventual launch of its operational 5G service by 2020, which we have now set in motion by this very exciting announcement.”
The 3GPP’s first approved iteration of highly anticipated 5G NR specifications for non-standalone (NSA) operation features in Release 15 and covers both fixed and mobile applications. The NSA specification also laid out key 5G bands including 617MHz to 698MHz (Band 71), AWS (Band 66), 2.5GHz, 3.3GHz to 4.3GHz, 4.4GHz to 4.99GHz, 24.25GHz to 29.5GHz and 37GHz to 40GHz.
Industry leaders hailed the release of the standard as a milestone which sets the stage for the global mobile industry to begin full-scale deployment of the next-generation technology.