» ISP News » 

Arqiva Unveil First UK Trial of 5G Mobile as ITU Set Draft Performance Spec

Friday, February 24th, 2017 (7:58 am) - Score 1,125

The ITU has published a draft of its performance specification for the future 5G (IMT-2020) based Mobile Broadband technology, which calls for a download speed of 100Mbps (50Mbps upload) in dense urban areas. On top of that Arqiva will launch the first UK trials in London during H2-2017.

In order to be correctly described as 5G the International Telecommunication Union has already stated (here) that the technology must be able to deliver at least a peak performance capability of 20Gbps (Gigabits per second), although this is capacity that is intended to be shared between many users. By comparison the official specification for 4G originally put its comparable figure at about 1Gbps+.

However the ITU’s latest Draft Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.TECH PERF REQ] effectively sets the full “minimum requirements” related to 5G’s technical performance in IMT-2020 radio interfaces, which also confirms that the upload speed would need to deliver an impressive 10Gbps.

François Rancy, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau, said:

The IMT-2020 standard is set to be the global communication network for the coming decades and is on track to be in place by 2020. The next step is to agree on what will be the detailed specifications for IMT-2020, a standard that will underpin the next generations of mobile broadband and IoT connectivity.”

The draft will then almost certainly be approved ITU-R Study Group 5 at its next meeting in November 2017, which means that we should see the first full 5G specification proposal by the the very end of 2017 as planned. After that the final specification will be refined and hopefully agreed during 2018.

Summary of 5G’s Key Minimum Performance Requirements

* The minimum requirements for peak data rate are as follows:
– Downlink peak data rate is 20 Gbit/s.
– Uplink peak data rate is 10 Gbit/s.

* The minimum requirements for peak spectral efficiencies are as follows:
– Downlink peak spectral efficiency is 30 bit/s/Hz.
– Uplink peak spectral efficiency is 15 bit/s/Hz.

* The target values for the user experienced data rate are as follows in the Dense Urban – eMBB test environment:
– Downlink user experienced data rate is 100 Mbit/s.
– Uplink user experienced data rate is 50 Mbit/s.

NOTE: The target for rural performance isn’t as clearly described, although the document appears to indicate that speeds would be about half or less than half of the above. However this depends on the evironment and type of mobile setup etc.

* The minimum requirements for user plane latency are:
– 4 ms for eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband, such as in a normal mobile environment)
– 1 ms for URLLC (Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, such as fixed wireless)

* The minimum requirement for control plane latency is 20 ms. Proponents are encouraged to consider lower control plane latency, e.g. 10 ms. Control plane latency refers to the transition time from a most “battery efficient” state (e.g. Idle state) to the start of continuous data transfer (e.g. Active state) and so you’d expect it to be slower than a live network.

* The minimum requirement for connection density is 1,000,000 devices per km2.

* The requirement for bandwidth is at least 100 MHz. The RIT/SRIT shall support bandwidths up to 1 GHz for operation in higher frequency bands (e.g. above 6 GHz).

* The minimum requirement for mobility interruption time is 0 ms. Mobility interruption time is the shortest time duration supported by the system during which a user terminal cannot exchange user plane packets with any base station during transitions.

However the other big news today is that Arqiva, which owns and manages many of the United Kingdom’s radio masts, has announced their intention to work with Samsung and conduct the country’s first 5G trial in London during the second half of 2017.

The trial will focus on the city centre and aim to deploy an end-to-end Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network solution that uses 5G technology, which is perhaps more akin to the Home Broadband style service offered by Relish Wireless in the same area than a normal Mobile network. Much like other trials around the world, 5G kit isn’t yet ready for a proper mobile environment and so fixed wireless is the early focus.

Apparently this trial will harness Samsung’s favoured 28GHz radio spectrum band via millimetre Wave (mmW) supporting base stations, which will also be able to use modern technologies like beam-forming. The focus will be on high-density coverage and ultra-high-bandwidth connectivity to customer homes and or offices.

Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of Arqiva, said:

“5G will be a crucial pillar of the UK’s economy in the 2020s. The smarter network infrastructure and an enhanced ability to support exponential scale for connectivity will open the doors to further applications across a variety of markets such as IoT, industrial applications and the full promise of autonomous vehicles.

Our trial with Samsung will demonstrate the enormous potential of 5G FWA as an alternative to fibre for delivering ultra-high speed connectivity to homes and businesses.”

Arqiva expects their trial service to deliver multi-Gigabit broadband speeds to whole neighbourhoods in central London, which could be useful as there are still a number of notspots to be found in the city centre. However at present we don’t know the exact coverage plan or scale of the trial itself.

Meanwhile, over in China, BT’s (EE) partner Huawei has just completed a field performance test of its 5G New Radio (NR) technology using the much more Mobile environment friendly 3.5GHz band, which is within the frequency range of spectrum that Ofcom are targeting for the same technology (here). However no clear data on its performance or coverage during this trial has been released.

One thing that’s become abundantly clear today is that the research phase of 5G is now slowly making way for the final development side of things, although we don’t expect to see the first commercial roll-out beginning in the UK until 2020; partly because Ofcom has a lot of spectrum organisation / clearance and auction work to do first.

Leave a Comment
14 Responses
  1. Chris P says:

    So OFCOM could be the one that stifles uk 5G deployment by being slow to licence for the new technology.

    Can the mobile providers call for OFCOM to be broken up as they are not working quickly enough.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      It’s not that simple. Squabbling between mobile operators can be a problem. On top of that much of the spectrum that Ofcom has earmarked for 5G is already allocated to other uses (MoD, TV etc.) and it takes time to clear those without causing problems.

      Finally, everybody is trying to achieve some consensus on a more harmonised approach to using spectrum, but much of that won’t be agreed until the world radiocommunication conference 2019. The challenges are the same being seen in pretty much every other country, which is partly why 2020 is such a widely shared date.

  2. 3G Infinity says:


    Well put. Possible timetable for additional spectrum, all 5G capable and within EU/RSPG:

    2017/18 – 3.4GHz auction with 150MHz available, that’s about 1 1/2 oeprators assuming 100MHz channels

    2018/19 – 3.6 – 3.8GHz. I am assuming one more round of consultation and then IM, republish Im and actual auction. Its all within RSPG for 5G, though technically ITU says only 3600-3700 can be used for IMT – that won’t stop the EU though

    2019/20 – 700MHz, this is a prime band for 5G macro layer in the UK, especially as 800MHz is doing well for LTE


  3. gerarda says:

    If the user rate requirement for rural is only half of 100Mbps that’s not much more than I get at the moment. More like a 4G+ than a leap forward.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Worth pointing out that these are “minimum” requirements. The Minimum for 4G was a lot less, but on the other hand the 5G performance hype really doesn’t reflect what it will be like in rural areas where lower frequencies must still be used. At launch I doubt it’ll be faster than ‘some’ of the best 4G rural areas, but that should change fairly quickly.

  4. TWKND says:

    Realistically is 5G ever going to get to rural areas? Many of them don’t even have the backhaul for 3/4G, hence why EE are building new towers using satellite backhaul.

  5. MikeW says:

    “Final development” of a system that is robust, reliable, available, and scales to a million devices per squared km is a long way off.

    What we are seeing is a good ramp-up of trials of competing technologies, but they’re still really only attempts to drive the specifications. But it is going to be trial software, driving trial silicon, that isn’t close to optimal for commercial deployments. Why bother, when a competing method could be chosen instead?

    What seems important for 5G is performance in really dense environments (sorry, rural areas). It is no longer good enough to have trials in labs, or with vans driving up and down the A3. It needs real cities, real topography, real interference. I think that’s why we are seeing more of the research conducted it in the open.

    FWA is a good choice – it is, after all, Google Fiber’s new business case, but also means you don’t need silicon optimised to be mobile, or powered from batteries.

    The spectral efficiency is surprising. 30 bit/s/Hz is the same as LTE-Advanced with 8×8 MIMO, so they’re not really aiming for improvements over that. It’s going to come from scaling up the size of the channel instead.

    However, that also says that the speed coming from the 700MHz spectrum isn’t going to be any better than the 800MHz spectrum. Especially once split across operators.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      ““Final development” of a system that is robust, reliable, available, and scales to a million devices per squared km is a long way off.”

      So you don’t think it’ll be ready in time for 2020, which is less than 3 years and that isn’t a long way off at all? At least not to me.

    2. MikeW says:

      3 years away is fine – plenty of time. Though the first implementations, like 4G, won’t be full functionality anyway.

      Of more significance is that the staff are the wrong ones. It is still a research project, with research staff. Smaller, responsive, agile groups. Producing quick, hacked, proof-of-concept products.

      Different from the ultimate development teams, which have a different job.

      I wouldn’t say we’re seeing research make way for final development. We’re seeing theoretical research give way to practical research.

  6. Phil says:

    Lets hope 5G arrives supporting voice and text and isn’t rushed like 4G was. 4G is still predominately data only, and many existing devices can’t, or will not be upgraded to support VoLTE. We have the ridiculous situation of companies like EE using precious 800MHz space for 4G for longer reach and penetration, for it to be only available for a tiny fraction of their customers that have the newest handsets that support VoLTE, this to avoid the scenario of having a good signal with no ability to make voice calls.

    How EE were allowed to use this bandwidth for such limited numbers of their customers to benefit I don’t know.

    1. TWKND says:

      That’s not (fully) true, my town was recently upgraded with band 20 and I’ve seen my phone connect to it every so often.

    2. TWKND says:

      Should mention I’m on Plusnet who don’t support VoLTE.

    3. Phil says:

      From EE’s post on the subject: “We are only allowing customers who have 4G Calling to access 800 because 800 goes further than all our other spectrum and can create areas that are 4G only; if there’s no 2G or 3G to fall back to, then a 4G phone without 4G Calling would see data but would never be able to make or receive a call.”

      If your phone is one they support for 4G calling (http://ee.co.uk/help/phones-and-device/4g-calling) which is a growing list but many are restricted to ones bought from them.

      So 4G launched in the UK in 2012, 5 years later only a very tiny number of people can make calls over 4G, astonishing when the vast majority of devices connecting are devices we will make calls on, and that’s a very tiny percentage of all customers, and they are now talking about launching 5G. Shouldn’t they get 4G working properly first?

      I’m not sure what PlusNet are doing, but perhaps you have a supported device or they are just letting their customers connected to band 20 even though that might mean a full signal but no ability to call someone. Although I’d be very surprised if EE provides access to PlusNet customers for VoLTE or Wi-Fi calling.

    4. TWKND says:

      It could be that they are allowing everyone to access certain sites transmitting band 20 if they’re certain there aren’t going to be areas that only receive that. Interestingly enough I have a non-functional VoLTE toggle in my SIM settings and my phone says I’m connected to IWLAN (WiFi calling) during a call which I know isn’t true.

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Gigaclear £17.00
    Speed: 200Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Community Fibre £20.00
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • YouFibre £24.00
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £25.00
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £25.00
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
New Forum Topics
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £17.99
    Speed 30Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £21.00
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Shell Energy £21.99
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £22.00
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £60 Reward Card
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (4006)
  2. BT (3131)
  3. Politics (2085)
  4. Building Digital UK (2007)
  5. Openreach (1950)
  6. FTTC (1915)
  7. Business (1802)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1585)
  9. Statistics (1484)
  10. FTTH (1369)
  11. 4G (1357)
  12. Virgin Media (1264)
  13. Ofcom Regulation (1226)
  14. Fibre Optic (1220)
  15. Wireless Internet (1218)
  16. Vodafone (919)
  17. EE (899)
  18. 5G (871)
  19. TalkTalk (814)
  20. Sky Broadband (782)
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact