Telefónica and Huawei complete world’s first proof-of-concept test for 5G UCNC radio access networks

[Madrid, Spain, November 21, 2016] Telefónica and Huawei have achieved a new milestone with the world’s first PoC (proof-of-concept) 5G UCNC (user centric and no cell) RAN (radio access network) architecture, tested in their 5G Joint Innovation Lab.

5G UCNC is one of the 5G innovation projects that come under the ‘5G&NG-RAN Joint Innovation Agreement’ that both companies signed in June 2016.

Providing a ubiquitous ultra-fast end user everywhere solution is one of the challenges for 5G commercial network deployment. Huawei innovated the CloudRANTM-based UCNC with Hyper-Cell network architecture, thus enabling the large-area coordination of many base station nodes to eliminate handovers between cells and reduce interference from adjacent cells. Re-architecting the traditional cell-centric principle towards a user-centric access helps to ensure a consistent user experience across the network.

UCNC is a novel radio access framework evolved from the classical cell-centric access protocol to a user-centric protocol with hyper-cell abstraction. UCNC can dramatically reduce the over-the-air protocol signaling overhead and access protocol latency, as well as increase the number of air-interface connection links.

UCNC also defines the ‘ECO State’ as a new device protocol state for sending short packets directly without the need of over-the-air signaling, thus making sure that users are truly ‘always connected’. Another key technology is ‘SCMA-based Grant Free Access’, which can simplify uplink access procedures so as to reduce latency and increase the number of connected devices.

According to the results of PoC tests conducted at the Telefónica-Huawei 5G Joint Innovation Lab, the number of 5G connections per cell increased by 233%, the signaling overhead decreased by 78%, and the latency decreased by 95% compared with state-of the-art LTE. Telefónica and Huawei will continue with the next phase PoC test with the target to enhance the cell edge spectral efficiency, in order to avoid end-user experience degradation at the cell edges and any service interruption across the network.

In addition to the UCNC PoC tests, Huawei and Telefónica successfully demonstrated the mmWave Multi-User MIMO technology based on 5G NR (New Radio) and Massive MIMO TDD technology. 70Gbps cell throughput was reached by mmWave Multi-User MIMO by delivering more than 35Gbps data rates to each user, which is 100 times faster than current LTE data rates.

Mr. Enrique Blanco, Telefónica Global CTO, said:

“Telefónica’s collaboration with Huawei on 5G has allowed us to reach disruptive results like the use of User Centric No Cell eliminating handover between cells and reducing interference, which is a significant step towards making 5G a really differential mobile system. With this PoC, included in the trial activities of Telefónica in 5G, we can highlight the progress towards developing new technological elements of 5G that provide an important opportunity to position 5G as a transformative element for all services and applications that depend on excellent connectivity.”

Dr. Tong Wen, Huawei Fellow and Huawei Wireless CTO, said:

“We are pleased with our 5G collaboration with Telefónica. Our joint achievement on the Proof-of-Concept UCNC for NR RAN and trials for the fiber-like mmWave technology will pave the way from 5G innovation to become a commercial reality. The novel RAN architecture concept based on cloud technology will lay the foundation for future 5G services and applications."

The Seventh Annual Mobile Broadband (MBB) Forum will be held in Tokyo, Japan on November 23 to 25, 2016. The world's top operators along with key industry decision-makers, policymakers and influencers will attend to discuss the hottest trends in the MBB ecosystem, and explore the future of mobile broadband. For more info, please visit:

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