Nokia, US Cellular partner for 5G mmWave

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Nokia and US Cellular announced a commercial deal to add 5G millimeter-wave capabilities in the 24 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum bands to the carrier’s network, the European vendor said in a release.

Under the terms of the agreement, US Cellular will deploy Nokia’s AirScale portfolio, with cloud RAN capabilities, to provide mmWave-based 5G enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB).

The Nokia AirFrame open edge solution for Cloud RAN will also be included in the deployments, enabling a virtualized RAN that provides benefits such as, significant Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) reduction through simplification automation and operation efficiency gains, as well as through the support of open ecosystems, Nokia said.

To support US Cellular’s advanced IoT and enterprise customers, the carrier has also decided to include Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) solution as a deployment component, which allows the rapid scaling of 5G IoT services.

US Cellular is beginning its multi-year deployment of 5G mmWave now, with commercial availability planned for next year. The operators had previously inked 5G supplier deals with Nokia and Ericsson.

Based in Chicago, US Cellular is the fourth largest network operator in the country and provides mobile service to around 5 million subscribers in 23 states.

“U.S. Cellular and Nokia are taking bold steps forward together in the realm of 5G modernization and connectivity,” said Mike Irizarry, CTO of US Cellular. With 5G mmWave technology from Nokia, we can provide our customers with the leading-edge capabilities of high performance, ultra-low latency 5G. By readying our network with these key foundational network elements, we can offer an even wider range of communications services that enhance our customers’ wireless experience.”

“We are pleased to extend our relationship with U.S. Cellular with 5G mmWave technology and enable the company to deliver to its consumer and enterprise customers exciting new 5G services that require lightning performance with no discernable latency. This is a big leap forward in the provision of fast, secure and reliable networks in the Western, Mid-West and Mid-Atlantic regions,” said Ricky Corker, president of customer operations for the Americas at Nokia.

Nokia says that it has reached a total of 79 commercial 5G contracts worldwide, of which 31 are live 5G networks.

The company said that some of the customers include AT&T, KDDI, Korea Telecom, LG Uplus, NTT DOCOMO, O2, SK Telecom, SoftBank, Sprint, STC, T-Mobile US, Verizon, Vodafone Italy and Zain Saudi Arabia.

In related news, Nokia announced it has partnered with Brazilian telco Vivo to provide private wireless services for Vale’s Carajás mine in Brazil.

The service will be part of an Industry 4.0 project by Vale to deploy autonomous drill platforms and trucks. Nokia said that the connectivity project will increase productivity at the mine and improve worker safety. The network will be also used for mine-wide communications between workers.

Nokia is currently working with several mining operators worldwide to deploy private wireless networks based on LTE, with plans to migrate to 5G in the future.

Nokia also said that its private wireless solutions are enabling many new applications in the mining field, including support for environmental monitoring, video-assisted remote operations and improved worker monitoring and safety. Nokia is partnering with key solution providers in the mining industry, including Komatsu and Sandvik.

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