Nokia pilots a 5G FWA slicing project in Saudi Arabia

21 January 2021

Nokia has successfully piloted a 4G and 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) network slicing, working in collaboration with Saudi Arabian telecom Mobily.

The pilot was conducted on Mobily’s live commercial network and the companies claim it is the first sliced FWA deployment in the world. The ongoing pilot is taking place in the capital city of Riyadh in a multi-vendor environment and included sliced access, transport and core networks with management and assurance capabilities.

Nokia said the technology will allow Mobily to offer new FWA services to consumers and enterprise customers as well as slicing per application, including voice, data, online gaming and home office applications.

FWA is currently offered in lower bands of the wireless spectrum, but as millimeter wave (mmWave), the higher band of the spectrum, becomes ubiquitous, FWA will match or even outpace current broadband bandwidth. FWA could also be used to bring broadband services to remote areas where nothing exists or to places where broadband is extremely limited. It could also become a significant competitor to traditional broadband technology.

A recent study from Nokia found that 5G FWA is likely to be one of the most important first use cases to emerge from the rollout of 5G technology beyond smartphones.

Nokia’s slicing technology works in LTE, 5G non-standalone and 5G standalone networks. Mobile broadband connectivity is provided from 4G/5G devices and customer premises equipment (CPE) to cloud applications through sliced access, transport and core. The technology allows Mobily to divide its network into multiple virtual networks and offers FWA service tiers and services to customers on the 4G/5G network.

The FWA slice between LTE and 5G allows operators to maximize their network coverage and assets such as available spectrum for new mobile services. Use cases from this could include enterprise, transportation, manufacturing, utilities, public safety and smart city applications.

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