‘Firsts’ include continuously operable mid-band 5G pilot zones in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and prototype Samsung S10 5G smartphone.
While the zones also have ultra-high-speed millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies, they also have connectivity in the sub-6GHz spectrum, which is well suited to wider-area coverage.
mmWave is expected to be the backbone of 5G networks worldwide, the operator said.
Data rates of 21Gbps
During testing together with Nokia and Qualcomm in Moscow, MTS achieved a data transfer rate of 2.1Gbps on a preproduction Samsung S10 5G smartphone.
The phone is built round the Snapdragon 855 platform and Qualcomm’s next-generation X50 modem connected to an MTS SIM card.
At that rate, a 5GB high-definition film can be downloaded in less than 20 seconds. The tests were carried out on an MTS pilot network based on Nokia AirScale mmWave Radio equipment.
“Not long ago we were testing 5G equipment the size of a closet, and today with our partners, we showcased a 5G smartphone operating under typical user conditions that externally is indistinguishable from a regular 4G device,” commented Inessa Galaktionova, First VP for Telecommunications at MTS.
She added, “The first 5G smartphones and routers will go on sale in MTS stores in late 2019 or early 2020.”
Working with Huawei
Working with Huawei, MTS also launched Russia’s first large-scale urban 5G coverage on the St. Petersburg’s island of Kronstadt, and a 5G cell in Moscow near the Smart City pavilion in one of the city’s most historic parks, VDNKh.
In the early stages, the networks will be used for testing and to connect certain public facilities to the Internet, with plans for broader rollout to subscribers in the future.
Coverage includes thorugh 4.9GHz mid-band and 28GHz mmWave frequencies.
Opening a lab
MTS intends to open a 5G Lab in the Moscow pilot zone to provide a platform for startups to develop new products and solutions based on fifth-generation connectivity.
The operator said that overall, these achievements “represent a major step forward toward the commercial rollout of 5G in Russia, further demonstrating MTS’s technology leadership in bringing the latest innovations to our customers”.