Elisa and Nokia, two major telecommunications companies based in Finland, announced that they have successfully conducted the first ever European testing of 5G technology on 3.5 GHz band. The testing took place in Rusko, Finland last April 7th, with data speeds and latency measured in a set-up wherein a 5G signal was transmitted between a base station and a terminal. According to the two companies, their testing yielded some very promising results, with data speeds measured at 1.5 Gbps and minimum latency measured at 1.5 milliseconds. The results of the tests show the potential of 5G technology, with increased data speeds and reduced latency opening new use cases like remote control of robots and IoT devices. Elisa and Nokia seek to use 3.5 GHz band for 5G as it offers two major advantages over other frequencies, which are increased data speeds due to a wider bandwidth and possibility of more comprehensive coverage due to its lower frequency.
The use of 3.5 GHz band solves one major problem for carriers who seek to implement 5G technology, which is the need for a massive infrastructure investment. To allow for higher data speeds, 5G technology can only be implemented at higher frequencies than the ones currently used for 4G LTE, with higher frequencies allowing higher data speeds. For example, testing the 5G technology on 15 GHz, combined with a MIMO antenna setup, yielded as high as 5 Gbps measured data speed. However, the use of higher frequencies results in a smaller coverage area per base station, with carriers needing to invest in more base stations to fully cover their service areas. The use of 3.5 GHz band, due to its significantly lower frequencies, allows for a wider coverage per base station while maintaining high data speeds, resulting in reduced infrastructure outlay for wireless carriers.
Aside from the European networks, US wireless carriers have been testing 5G technology, with commercialization targeted for the year 2020. Verizon has begun testing 5G technology in 11 cities across the US, with the company planning to roll out fixed 5G services later on, enabling the wireless carrier to compete with wireline and cable internet service providers. T-Mobile, meanwhile, has petitioned with the FCC this April to allow the carrier to use 3.5 GHz for 5G testing, which the wireless carrier targets to start by April 15th.