Nokia teams with Vodafone Australia on 5G field test

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is using gear from Nokia in what’s being described as the first deployment of low-band 700 MHz spectrum for 5G in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

The companies say the 700 MHz spectrum will be paired with 3.5 GHz spectrum for a combination of speed, capacity and coverage when the service goes commercial.

“We are proud to be showcasing this innovative use of the lowest band spectrum available in Australia with the first live test deployment of 5G on low-band 700 MHz spectrum in our region,” said VHA CEO Iñaki Berroeta in a statement. “Our partnership with Nokia has enabled us to deliver an innovative solution with our customers’ experience front of mind. Incorporating 700 MHz spectrum will complement our existing 5G network plans and help deliver the benefits of 5G’s speed, capacity and coverage.” 

RELATED: Vodafone and Nokia demonstrate 5G in Australia

The solution uses Nokia’s AirScale product and is being tested on some of VHA’s 5G sites in and around Parramatta in Western Sydney.

The 700 MHz spectrum will be rolled out to selected areas as part of VHA’s 5G rollout, and Nokia will be providing project planning, installation and network optimization services. Vodafone will be repurposing the 700 MHz spectrum to 5G while maintaining the performance of the existing 4G network, according to the companies.   

RELATED: Telstra upgrades to 5G standalone-ready network in Australia

Rival Telstra last week announced it was ready to support 5G New Radio standalone (SA) capabilities using gear from Ericsson. It claimed to be the first telco in Australia to enable end-to-end 5G standalone across its network, as well as one of the first in the world. Most currently deployed 5G networks are still operating in non-standalone (NSA) mode, which use 5G technology to boost data transfers but rely on support from a 4G LTE core.

Last week, Nokia reported first-quarter 2020 net sales of $5.3 billion, a 2% decline year-over-year, and lowered its guidance for the full year 2020.