Nokia and A1 Austria have verified 3 Component Carrier Aggregation (3CC CA) in a 5G Standalone (SA) trial network in Austria – reaching data rates of 2 Gbps. CA allows mobile operators to reach higher throughputs and better coverage by combining different spectrum frequencies to efficiently utilize their spectrum assets. It will enable A1 to deliver a superior 5G experience to its subscribers.
The trial utilized Nokia’s AirScale 5G baseband, a 5G smartphone, and a commercial 5G CPE over A1 Austria’s 5G network. It successfully combined two mid-band carriers in the 3.5 GHz TDD band (n78) and one capacity carrier in the 2100 MHz FDD band (n1) for a total bandwidth of 160 MHz by using Carrier Aggregation technology. The peak downlink data rate achieved in the trial was 2 Gbps.
Many operators are relying on sub-6 GHz spectrum for 5G. The lower frequency bands provide the best coverage and the higher frequency bands typically enable higher throughput, whereas the mid-band frequencies provide a good combination of both. With Carrier Aggregation, A1 was able to increase the available bandwidth for mobile users by combining the power of its spectrum assets.
Carrier Aggregation can also be used in other scenarios, for example, to combine low-band spectrum with mid-band spectrum for increased coverage range of the high downlink data rates. It is the key technology that allows mobile operators to make optimal use of their 5G spectrum without compromising on performance and customer experience. It can also help bring down the cost of deploying 5G networks.
Nokia has a long-standing partnership with A1, which has included the rollout of nationwide 5G coverage across Austria as well as the deployment of Austria’s largest fiber-optic network. In 2021, A1’s network was ranked in the top 10 for the best mobile experience worldwide1. Both companies also launched the commercial implementation of 4G and 5G network slicing following a successful pilot.
Alexander Stock, CTO, A1 Austria, said: “This trial is an important milestone as we continue to deliver on our strategy of bringing best-in-class 5G services to our subscribers. Maximizing our spectrum assets will enhance coverage, capacity, and performance and we are pleased to continue to work with our long-standing partner, Nokia to realize the full potential of 5G technology.”
Mark Atkinson, SVP, Radio Access Networks at Nokia, said: “Nokia is the market leader in implementing 5G Carrier Aggregation solutions for different spectrum combinations. It has been exciting to support our trusted partner A1 in this trial showcasing how Carrier Aggregation is a major stepping stone for reaching Multi-Gigabit 5G data rates and enabling radio network efficiencies.”