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SFR dials up 5GNR voice call first in France


SFR has made the first voice call in France over a 5G New Radio network running on 3.5GHz spectrum.

The call was held last week at Nokia's 5G Test Network and Competence Centre in Paris-Saclay. The vendor provided its AirScale radio platform, Cloud RAN running on Nokia's AirFrame data centre solution, and end-user devices compliant with 3GPP's 5G NR standards.

Nokia said its New Radio systems would help the likes of SFR to increase its network capacity on spectrum below the 6GHz band and deliver wide-area coverage.

François Vincent, Head of Mobile Network at SFR, said: "SFR is developing a roadmap for the evolution of its networks that takes into account the benefits and complexity of implementing 5G.

"The joint projects and trials will enable us to meet future data demand in the most effective way, while exploring new ways to deliver our media content that will increase the subscriber experience."

[Read more: Europe in the firing line again for lagging on 5G]

Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: "By testing 5G technologies now, we can place SFR ahead of the needs of its data-hungry customers while preparing the operator for the launch of next-generation services."

In February, Vodafone became the first operator to make a voice call over a 5G New Radio network, just months after the 5GNR standard was locked down by 3GPP. It worked with Huawei on the project, which involved the 3.7GHz band.

Last week, Deutsche Telekom announced plans to extend its 5G New Radio network to additional sites in Berlin. It aims to have 70 cells across 20 sites installed by the summer.