5G is probably something that sounds like a made-up fantasy from a near-future sci-fi novel, and while that’s not too far from the truth, Nokia is to develop a test network to see just what a 5G network would be like to maintain and run. Nokia might not be the big name that it once was, but the company still knows network technology better than most industry stalwarts. A Finnish news report has stated that a 5G test network might roll out in Oulu, Finland as soon as next year. However, as of right now there’s nothing concrete set in motion, with construction plans to be finalized later on in the year.
Juha Maatta, Nokia’s technical director is cited by the Finnish news outlet and it appears that the project might be a big deal for the Oulu region, which has been hurting at the recent fall of Nokia and recent round of job cuts. While 5G is still more a set of standards on paper than anything else right now, it’s thought that the new technology could improve wireless area capacity by 1,000 times as well as improve the common data rate for users by anywhere as much as 10 to 100 times. Perhaps more importantly for the future however, 5G networks could be as much as 90% more energy efficient than current 4G networks. Maatta said of the new 5G network, “it won’t be just one product, but there would be an entire ecosystem around it. We also have to develop the user experience. In this way people will see that they will have limitless capacity at their disposal.”
It’s not just Nokia that will be undertaking this new venture in mobile though, with local establishments like the city of Oulu, University of Oulu and Finnish Technical Research Centre VTT helping to get things off the ground. Further afield, and Nokia has plans to work more closely with the rest of the mobile industry. In fact, Nokia is to build a pretty radical new partnership program to help further 5G by sharing information like APIs and more. Speaking of the partnership in a blog post, Thorsten Robrecht, acting head of partner business for Nokia Networks, said “We’re creating a new Partner Business Unit where we take the lead in shaping how companies in the telco world will collaborate in the future. This business will be a focal point for our growing network of partners and will be responsible for a new way of working with them. In short, we are introducing unprecedented openness and opportunity.”
As the current telco model that industry giants like Verizon use just isn’t going to work in the future. A closed and rigid network might be great for lining your pockets, but it’s not good for the overall industry. If Nokia can help kickstart the next big thing in mobile, then it’ll not only help Nokia put themselves back on the map, but also usher in a new era of cooperation between networks and get improvements like better coverage and faster speeds rolled out quicker.