German carrier Deutsche Telekom said it has completed the first 5G Voice over New Radio (VoNR) call in partnership with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Xiaomi.
The call was made over a 5G Standalone (SA) network set up at Deutsche Telekom’s lab in Warsaw, Poland.
This network setup integrated a 5G Core from Ericsson and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) from Nokia. The calls were completed using the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G, and a 5G smartphone-form-factor test device powered by the Snapdragon 780G and 888 5G Mobile Platforms with Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems.
Deutsche Telekom said that this achievement represents an important step towards the commercial introduction of native 5G voice services in Deutsche Telekom networks.
In cloud-native 5G SA networks, operators will be able to deliver high quality voice services without having to rely on LTE as anchor. The addition of VoNR to the superior data transmission quality of 5G technology will allow customers to enjoy voice and data services in parallel, the carrier said, adding that VoNR is therefore expected to play a role in many data services enabled by 5G, from enhancements to voice quality in existing services to completely new services around immersive video conferencing and augmented or virtual reality.
“High quality and seamless voice calling remains a must-have service for our customers in the 5G era. The addition of 5G VoNR can be a differentiator for next generation immersive applications that integrate high speed 5G data with high definition audio,” said Alex Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “Our collaboration with best-in-class partners to validate end-to-end 5G VoNR interoperability is an important step towards the future of 5G voice services for our customers.”
Deutsche Telekom expects its 5G network to reach 90% of the country’s population by the end of the year. The telco said that its 5G infrastructure currently provides coverage to 80% of the population. By the end of March, more than 66 million people in around 5,000 towns and cities across Germany will be able to use the telco’s 5G network.
Over 50,000 5G antennas are already transmitting with 5G across Germany, the company said.
The telco kicked off the rollout of its 5G network in a limited number of cities across Germany at the beginning of July 2019.
Earlier this year, Deutsche Telekom installed that first 5G standalone antenna in Garching, which is near Munich, to carry out trials of this technology. Deutsche Telecom connected the antenna to a 5G standalone core network via cloud infrastructure.
The German operator also noted that the infrastructure in the core network will also be fully upgraded to a new, cloud-based 5G architecture.