Europe’s first 5G SA carrier aggregation

BT claims Europe’s first 5G SA carrier aggregation in trial

The British incumbent telecom operator BT claims to have achieved a Europe-first by aggregating four carrier components (4CC) in a 5G standalone (SA) live network trial.

Together with Finnish vendor Nokia, the operator has combined four low and mid bands (2.1, 2.6, 3.4, 3.6 GHz) into one connection allowing to increase data rates per user. Claiming it has achieved this for the first time in Europe using commercial spectrum as well as for the first time outside of a lab in Europe, the two-stage trial began at BT’s Radio Lab in Bristol following which it was moved outdoors onto a radio mast at BT’s Adastral Park in Suffolk. Here, the operator achieved 4CC on 5G SA, radiating in EE’s regular radio spectrum.

The press release doesn’t give any more technical details nor any information on user peak rates achieved, but instead it has opted to boast about the ‘major leap forward in the evolution of 5G infrastructure’ achieved.

“Our trial with Nokia is another demonstration of building the most advanced network for our customers.” said Greg McCall, Managing Director of Service Platforms at BT. “5G Standalone, coupled with edge compute, will unlock new opportunities for customers looking to develop new services. Furthermore, this technology showcases what’s possible for devices in the future in terms of supporting carrier aggregation, which is an important part of customer experience.”

The announcement continues with exchanges between the operator and vendor as Mark Atkinson of Nokia says “[we] are once again delighted to be deepening our partnership with BT, supporting them with our industry-leading Carrier Aggregation technology for this trial. Nokia and BT have a long history in investing in cutting-edge technologies and this trial is another example of what our companies can achieve together.”