Vodafone, Huawei claim first to make 5G voice call

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Vodafone has made the first call using non-standalone 5G New Radio technology in a demonstration with Huawei.

The telcos used sub-6GHz spectrum to complete a live data call from a 4G to 5G test device, as well as a live HD video call.

They said the demonstration is believed to be the first time a call has not only sent data over a 5G connection but used the necessary control information to set it up and route it between an LTE and 5G network.

A 5G New Radio end-to-end test network was built for the trial, using Huawei radio access and core network equipment, and used 3.7GHz spectrum.

Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone’s Group Head of Networks Strategy and Architecture, said: “This is a significant milestone for Vodafone towards the introduction of 5G. The credit for this must go to the engineers in Huawei and Vodafone who have worked tirelessly since December.

“This successful test will enable us to move forward with further trials of 5G across Europe during 2018.”

Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei’s 5G product line, said: "Huawei is fully committed to the further development of this end-to-end 5G network technology.

“This test result shows the maturity of 5G based on the 3GPP standard. We are ready to continue our collaboration with Vodafone and enter commercial trials."

Peter Meissner, CEO and Member of the Board, NGMN Alliance said: “This first 5G call has been achieved only two months after 3GPP completed the Non-standalone NR standard and so is much sooner than most in the industry were expecting it to happen.

“This sends out the very promising signal to the world that the industry is ready to introduce 5G services for customers in due course.”

The breakthrough comes two days after Vodafone and Huawei demonstrated how IP microwaves could be used to backhaul 5G connections.