Vodafone Group is partnering with Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson, Intel and Qualcomm to research 5G and prepare its networks for a transition towards the new mobile standard.
The companies want to work together to “define industry standards, establish technical guidelines and prepare product roadmaps”.
To this end, they will evaluate which 5G technologies will be introduced as industry standards; test hardware and software in Vodafone Group’s UK Innovation Labs; conduct trials on Vodafone’s radio and core networks in selected global markets; and prioritise the benefits of 5G that can be brought to market by 2020.
Johan Wibergh, Vodafone Group CTO, explained that the company expects 5G to “radically enhance the speed, resilience and intelligence of mobile networks, enabling Vodafone customers to remain confidently connected as their usage of mobile data increases.”
Last month, Vodafone Hutchison Australia said building the foundation for a 5G network will be a priority this year and is targeting commercial launch in 2020.
Vodafone holds the chair in the NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) 5G Requirements and Architecture group, and co-founded the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey.
Vodafone’s efforts come as other high profile operators are announcing plans to evaluate supposed 5G technology. Last week AT&T followed rival Verizon by announcing plans to trial 5G later this year, revealing partnerships with Ericsson and Intel to develop the technology.
Along with the US, operators in Asia and Europe have also been talking up 5G plans, even though it is widely expected that the first commercial network will not launch until 2020, and standards for the technology are still yet to be defined.