5G moved a bit closer to becoming a reality today following the announcement of a successful multi-vendor 5G NR interoperability test conducted by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and KT Corporation. According to an announcement made by Qualcomm today via its official newsroom site, the test utilized connections in the 3.5GHz and 28GHz bands and was compliant with 3GPP Release-15 NSA 5G NR global standards. Moreover, the testing successfully measured speeds measuring at multiple gigabits per second on the downlink side and latency as low as 1 millisecond. However, it bears mention that these were achieved in lab conditions at a Samsung-owned test center in Suwon, South Korea. They were also conducted using Samsung's own pre-commercial 5G NR base stations and 5G NR UE prototypes built by Qualcomm, while KT Corporation provided oversight and guidance. So it remains to be seen whether the success can be replicated in real-world conditions with commercial equipment.
Having said that, it won't be too long before something closer to real-world testing is attempted since the companies plan to showcase the achievement with demonstrations at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 event in Barcelona. The demonstration shows that the components essential to 5G communications are interoperable and compliant with 3GPP standards, as applicable. That, according to Qualcomm, covers nearly every aspect of 5G NR air interface, including scalable 5G NR OFDM numerology, advanced 5G NR channel coding and modulation schemes, low-latency 5G NR slot structure, 5G NR control, and data channel support for both Massive MIMO and mobile mmWave. That makes these tests a vital part of pushing toward real-world testing and trials, which are set to begin later this year. With smartphones and commercially-viable networks planned to deploy in 2019, the success of these tests should give each of the companies plenty of time to be ready.
For anybody who may happen to be in the area during MWC 2018, the demonstrations will take place between February 26 and March 1 at each of the companies' respective booths. Qualcomm Technologies will be at booth 3E10 in Hall 3 while Samsung will be in Hall 2 at stand 2M20. KT Corporation's booth will be in Hall 4 at Innovation city.