Ericsson, AT&T and Qualcomm announced 5G trials based on forthcoming 3GPP New Radio specifications with the aim of speeding up commercial deployment of the next generation technology.

The trials will investigate technologies utilising 5G New Radio protocols in mmWave spectrum. By utilising higher frequency bands, the companies expect to demonstrate increased network capacity and multi-GB/s data rates. Ultimately, the partners hope to accelerate commercial deployment in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands, which have been earmarked by US regulator the FCC for 5G usage.

During the second half of 2017 the companies will conduct interoperability tests and field trials in the US based on protocols currently being developed by technical standards body the 3GPP. Qualcomm and Ericsson will provide the equipment while tests will take place using AT&T spectrum.

Announcing the collaboration, the partners said the findings would be an important step towards developing infrastructure to enable emerging technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality and cloud services.

Ericsson SVP and CTO Ulf Ewaldsson (pictured) said: “5G is the greatest opportunity our industry has ever experienced. It will provide a platform for operators to address new markets, such as media, transportation and manufacturing. This important 5G standard-based trial collaboration will demonstrate compliance to 3GPP and support the accelerated commercialisation of the global 3GPP 5G standard.”

Tom Keathley, AT&T’s SVP of wireless network architecture and design, added: “5G technology comes with new challenges, but more importantly, it offers tremendous opportunity to revolutionise the way we use mobile networks across industries. We look forward to working with Ericsson and Qualcomm on these standards-based trials as we continue to accelerate standards efforts and move down our 5G evolution path.”

The collaboration with AT&T is Ericsson and Qualcomm’s second surrounding 3GPP New Radio specifications in recent weeks. In December the duo announced plans to commence interoperability and over-the-air field trials of 5G New Radio standards with SK Telecom in South Korea in the back-half of 2017.