China Mobile launches 5G-A, taps Ericsson to co-develop use cases

China Mobile launches 5G-A, taps Ericsson to co-develop use cases

China Mobile has launched what it claims is the world’s first commercial 5G-Advanced network ahead of the standard’s expected completion later this year, and is collaborating with Ericsson to develop use cases for it.

According to an Ericsson announcement released on Wednesday, China Mobile has launched 5G-A in 100 cities across China, and aims to expand coverage to more than 300 cities before the end of this year.

China Mobile said it will promote 5G-A by launching over 20 5G-A-compatible devices later this year. The operator has set a target of at least 20 million 5G-A device users in 2024.

The launch of 5G-A was accompanied by the establishment of an industry alliance for 5G-A innovations and use case development, of which Ericsson is a member.

“In the future, Ericsson will continue to help China Mobile explore new 5G-A applications and services on domestic and foreign technology and industrial platforms, including the 5G-A Innovation Industry Alliance, carry out technological innovation, and jointly promote the maturity of the 5G-A industry chain by working together to innovate a new 5G-A commercial model,” Ericsson said in a statement.

China Mobile’s 5G-A launch comes as the 3GPP is still putting the final touches on the standard under Release 18. According to the latest official 3GPP timeline, the standards work on the RAN side was frozen as of December 2023, while the work of the Service and Systems Aspects (SA) group for service and system architecture and the Core Network and Terminals (CT) group were scheduled to be frozen as of last month. Standards covering ASN.1 and Open API are scheduled to be completed in June 2024.

Key features of Release 18 (apart from faster data speeds) include enhanced uplink coverage, intelligent network automation (including AI/ML RAN), flexible spectrum, improved energy efficiency, support for critical IoT use cases (including RedCap), and integration with non-terrestrial networks.

In January, China Unicom and Huawei said that they had deployed and tested a pilot large-scale 5G-Advanced network in parts of Beijing with a downlink peak rate of 10 Gbps, and a continuous experience of at least 5 Gbps.

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