Pedal to the Mobile: Verizon Completes 5G Drive Test With Nokia

Dan Jones
8/21/2018
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Nokia and Verizon have successfully completed a standards-based 5G call using a device located in a moving car, a significant milestone in the carrier's 5G service testing program and, according to the operator, the first test of its kind in the world.

Yet despite proving its 5G radio access technical prowess to one its most important customers, Nokia is yet to announce a commercial 5G deal with the US Tier 1 operator, which will launch its initial 5G services before the end of this year.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) says it completed the drive test in June with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) (at its glamorous Basking Ridge, N.J facility) that demonstrated how a mobile data session handoff between two cell sectors is achievable using 28GHz millimeter wave spectrum. "In the test, a data transmission on 28GHz spectrum was sent from two 5G NR radios on the Nokia building to a vehicle outfitted with a receiver and equipment to measure transmission statistics," noted Verizon in an official stateent about the test.

Neither company has yet revealed the speed of the vehicle used in the test, however.

Yet while Nokia has been involved in multiple 5G tests with Verizon, the carrier has not yet publicly announced a commercial 5G infrastructure agreement with the Finnish vendor. (See Nokia Gets in on Verizon 5G Tests, Nokia Tests Verizon 5G and Nokia Bell Labs & Verizon Stretch Fixed 5G to the Home.)

That leaves Nokia trailing some of its main rivals in terms of bragging rights: Verizon has, to date, signed supply deals with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Samsung Corp. for its initial 5G deployment, which could encompass more than 50 cities in the US through 2019. (See Verizon Reveals Third 5G City, as Revenue Climbs 5.4% in Q2 and Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear .)

That's not to say that a deal doesn't exist, or that Nokia won't be getting any Verizon 5G radio access network contracts. But the vendor's management, and investors, would be happier if there was a public announcement to point to.

Nokia's highest profile commercial deal yet announced in the US is with T-Mobile US Inc. (See Nokia Reels In $3.5B 5G Deal With T-Mobile US.)

Verizon is expected to launch 3GPP-based mobile 5G NR early in 2019. Its gigabit-speed, fixed wireless 5G residential broadband service using 28GHz spectrum will be launched in four US cities later this year. (See Indy Is Verizon's 4th Fixed 5G City, Verizon Confirms Mobile 5G in 'Early' 2019 and Verizon's Fixed 5G: A Cable Alternative Is Coming!.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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