Mobile Devices

Using software, Nokia says it can upgrade millions of 4G phones to 5G

15 July 2020

Nokia has announced that a software-based upgrade can allow 4G/LTE radios to be transitioned to 5G new radio (NR) technology seamlessly.

Nokia said the technology could allow for support of about 1 million radios, reaching about 3.1 million radios by the end of the year and more than 5 million by 2021. The move will support existing customers and the installed base by offering a seamless and cost-effective upgrade path to 5G NR.

Most 5G NR deployments have been performed with time division duplex (TDD) centimeter wave (cmWave) and TDD millimeter wave (mmWave) deployment, but the next round of deployments will be delivered by refarming existing frequency division duplex (FDD) bands to 5G NR, the company said.

The upgrade of 4G/LTE radios via software will smooth out the deployment of 5G/NR FDD avoiding the need for tower climbs and disruptive site visits. This will provide a new way for operators to build 5G/NR coverage in lower bands via spectrum refarming and dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) for live networks covering 2G/GSM-3G/WCDMA-4G/LTE.

Nokia estimates that this solution will save the telecommunications industry potentially tens of billions of dollars in site engineering and re-visit costs as communication service providers upgrade networks to 5G/NR on FDD with software.

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