Ericsson is working with Japanese operators NTT DOCOMO and KDDI on 5G research and trials, with the vendor also signing a development aggreement with Qatari operator Ooredoo.
The vendor has developed radio access prototypes for operators wishing to test 5G technology. The units comprise multi-user MIMO, beamforming and advanced antenna design, which incorporates 128 antenna elements and 64 radio chains.
The suitcase-sized unit weighs around 18 kilograms. NTT DOCOMO will be the first operator to use the prototypes.
Ericsson said the units would help operators build upon insights gained through its 5G Radio Test Bed. It added the prototypes would allow operators to see how 5G works on live networks, rather than in research labs.
Seizo Onoe, EVP and CTO, NTT DOCOMO, said: "We are pleased to take the next step toward testing in realistic network environment. Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be a great opportunity to propose many different use cases of 5G, which will be launched on 2020. We expect that this would lead to even further opportunities.
"Ericsson's 5G Radio Prototypes will help us to gain insights into the potential for 5G in our network environment and market, to open up new possibility to enable new services for our customers and partners."
Meanwhile, Ericsson will work with KDDI to measure the performance of 5G technology, with a view to developing use cases and deployment scenarios.
The memorandum of understanding said the companies will concentrate on radio and core technologies.
Its agreement with Ooredoo covers similar ground, with the telcos building a controlled test environment to measure the performance of 5G applications.
Jan Wäreby, Senior Vice President Head of Sales of Ericsson, said: “We believe that next generation networks will have a profound impact in the future by enabling anything and everything to connect, bringing value across a number of verticals in the Networked Society. Our continued collaboration with the Ooredoo Group is an indication of our staunch commitment to continue working with them across the technology spectrum.”