The Federal Communications Commission has given Nokia the green light to conduct a demonstration of its 5G prototype equipment at the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) show this fall.
The showcase will take place at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, with approved dates of operation from September 7 through September 15 to allow for advance set up and break down after the show. MWCA is scheduled to run from September 12-14.
Nokia said its demonstration will utilize spectrum from 27.5-28.35 GHz, running on an experimental version of its Flexizone base station and a mobile unit.
“Nokia is a leading manufacturer of mobile broadband radio equipment, the grant of the experimental special temporary STA (Experimental STA) application will allow Nokia to demonstrate its 5G concepts and potential products to our customers which will allow the company to enhance its efforts to design and develop equipment to meet the communications needs of our customers,” the company wrote.
There’s a reason the company has opted to highlight its 28 GHz capabilities at the stateside show. Though it’s worked with AT&T at 39 GHz and C Spire and Sprint at 68 GHz and 76 GHz, the dominant U.S. carriers seem to have honed in on 28 GHz as one of the major frequencies for 5G.
Last year, the FCC opened 3.85 GHz of airwaves from 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37-40 GHz for licensed use, and carriers have gone on a shopping spree with those numbers in mind. Verizon snapped up 28 GHz spectrum from NextLink as part of its XO Communications deal and started a bidding war to win Straight Path’s 28 GHz and 39 GHz licenses. T-Mobile also has a sizable chunk of 28 GHz spectrum – 200 MHz – that it’s also looking to put to use for fully mobile 5G deployments by 2020. The band has also garnered interest from major smartphone vendors like Apple, which in May asked the FCC for permission to move forward with tests in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands to gather performance information for future 5G devices. Additionally, both Qualcomm and Intel have unveiled 5G modems with support for 28 GHz.
The demos at MWCA will be a continuation of Nokia’s strategy at Mobile World Congress Barcelona earlier this year. The company kicked off that show in February with the debut of its new end-to-end 5G portfolio. More on that here.