Russian operator MTS will use Ericsson gear to demonstrate 5G-based services during the country’s 2018 World Cup, a move which follows a 2014 agreement between rival MegaFon and Huawei.
A MoU between the country’s number two operator MTS and Ericsson covers spectrum studies and the building of a test system. The first test system is expected to be deployed in 2016.
The companies will focus initially on requirements and use cases, as well as performance evaluation and applicability of potential 5G technology components.
The project will also involve talking to Russian regulators concerning the bands targeted for 5G and the requirements for next generation systems.
In 2016, the partners will implement a pilot project in LTE-U (LTE-Unlicensed) / LAA (Licensed-Assisted Access) in the 5GHz band together with Wi-Fi access points.
There will also be demonstrations of new radio technologies for IoT, including: EC-GSM (Extended Coverage for GSM), LTE-M (for Machine-type communications), NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT). The technologies will leverage existing GSM and LTE networks via software-only upgrades to provide indoor coverage, boost battery life and offer low-cost device support.
In 2017, the two firms will deploy a 5G pilot using high-speed data transmission in the 15 GHz band. They will then build a test area for a demo of 5G during the World Cup in 2018.
MegaFon and Huawei’s 5G MoU also has plans to deploy trial networks in time for coverage at the 2018 World Cup. A 5G test area will be set up, with the pilot projects targeted for completion by end June, 2017. It is hoped that this work will then lead to the 5G network becoming available for guests and participants of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Efforts by the operator and vendor rivals will likely lead to the world’s first deployments of 5G technology. It is worth noting, however, that an official 5G standard is unlikely to be ratified until at least 2017.