Providing what the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) firm said is not only an example of its readiness to address 5G monetisation challenges in use cases in areas such as the internet of things (IoT), wearables and Industry 4.0, leading MENA operator du has announced the successful conclusion of the UAE’s first 5G-Advanced 5G reduced capability (RedCap) trial over a commercial network.
Over the course of the past few years, low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies that were specifically developed for IoT applications have gained maturity and scale. Depending on the scope of the IoT deployments, the most suitable technology options for applications requiring a high data rate will likely be based on 5G. RedCap is designed to bring the benefits of 5G to New Radio (NR) consumers, enterprise and industrial devices.
Taking advantage of the evolution of 5G networks to the Standalone (SA) network architecture, RedCap promises to deliver reliability for devices that have low bandwidth requirements, offering many of the benefits of 5G without the cost and complexity of typical 5G services.
Industry experts believe 5G RedCap will be the candidate technology best suited for the needs of medium-speed use cases. The RedCap standard has been developed to enable the production of smaller and more cost-efficient 5G devices and provide longer battery life, thanks to their reduced complexity.
5G devices commonly feature intricate hardware and energy-intensive capabilities, resulting in higher cost, size and power consumption.
By contrast, du sees RedCap technology as being dedicated to streamlining 5G devices, specifically targeting compact IoT devices such as wearables and health trackers, as well as ruggedised routers and sensors for environmental or condition-based monitoring. These devices said the operator will exhibit lower demands for battery life and reduced bandwidth requirements. RedCap ensures they sustain performance while optimising their power efficiency.
Expecting RedCap devices to be commercially available from 2024, du said the technology will significantly augment its diversified use case portfolio to include cost-efficient 5G home wireless, wearables, video surveillance and wireless industrial sensors.
The trial saw du work with Nokia using MediaTek’s T300 series RedCap test equipment in du’s 5G Standalone (SA) Radio Access Network (RAN) built with Nokia’s AirScale radio products, using the existing mid-band Spectrum. This will follow extending RedCap over low-band frequencies, ensuring, said du, extreme coverage and connectivity. It added that the low band in 600MHz, is a vital part of the connectivity ecosystem.
“This collaboration introduces the revolutionary 5G-Advanced RedCap functionalities, enabling seamless connectivity of RedCap devices to cutting-edge 5G networks,” said du chief technology officer Saleem Alblooshi.
“Nokia’s unparalleled innovation simplifies and pioneers the development of 5G devices, particularly wearables and small IoT devices, significantly enhancing LTE-CAT4 performance and optimising energy efficiency. These remarkable technological advancements are pivotal in propelling Industry 4.0 revolution.”
Nokia has been at the forefront of driving the evolution of RedCap IoT functionality in collaboration with the telecommunications industry. “This new collaboration between du and Nokia represents not only a significant step forward in the monetisation of 5G technology, but also solidifies the UAE’s position as a pioneer in the evolution of 5G use cases for society and enterprises,” said Mikko Lavanti, Nokia MEA senior vice-president.
“As the collaboration progresses, both companies are poised to revolutionise the way we experience and interact with 5G technology, unlocking unprecedented possibilities for innovation and connectivity.”
Ho-Chi Hwang, general manager of wireless communication systems and partnerships at MediaTek, added: “It’s essential to bring new capabilities of 5G to the UAE, and this trial is an important step in that direction. We are proud to have provided our RedCap devices to further develop the ecosystem for 5G monetisation. We hope, by pioneering the technology in the Middle East and Africa region, MediaTek will be able to assure our customers of more innovative 5G products and services coming their way.”