Telefonica agreed a research deal with Nokia designed to smooth the operator group’s shift from 4G to 5G technology by evaluating technologies and techniques including massive MIMO, Cloud RAN, multi-access edge computing and network slicing.
The operator announced the companies will conduct a series of trials designed to maximise the use of existing network assets, and so lay the foundations for future services including IoT and changes in the way subscribers use mobile networks.
Enrique Blanco, systems and network global director at Telefonica (pictured), said the collaboration will enable the operator to meet rising demand for mobile connectivity by exploring the potential of new technologies to prepare it for 5G deployments.
Telefonica and Nokia will achieve this through a number of technology trials, including testing the ability of licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and massive MIMO, to increase network capacity in urban and rural areas, with a particular focus on areas where existing LTE spectrum is limited.
The potential of Nokia’s multi-access edge computing to deliver ultra-low latency communications will also be evaluated, with an eye to providing machine-to-machine communications in industrial settings along with VR video in stadiums.
Also in the pipeline is an assessment of network slicing techniques on a cloud-native core network, which Telefonica stated will enable it to use common network infrastructure “to deliver discrete services” to new and current customers. The test will use the operator’s UNICA cloud platform, which it established to produce a reference architecture for virtualisation using NFV and SDN.
Pedro Hernandez, VP of Telefonica Global Business at Nokia, said the companies will evaluate the potential of the vendor’s portfolio of 4.5G, 4.5G Pro and 4.9G technologies to improve the speed, capacity and latency of networks.
Nokia CTO Hossein Moiin in February told Mobile World Live it is now critical operators cash in on their network investments by developing use cases beyond mobile broadband. The vendor’s technology portfolio enables operators to begin testing such services, he explained.