In a ground-breaking development within the telecommunications industry, Nokia, in conjunction with British Telecom (BT) and the Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek, has successfully concluded rigorous trials of 5G Reduced Capability (Redcap) technology. This milestone event took place on October 17, 2023, at BT’s Adastral Park site, marking a significant step toward expanding the capabilities of 5G networks for a multitude of devices.
The trials leveraged Nokia’s cutting-edge AirScale Radio Access Network (RAN) portfolio, BT’s mobile operator EE’s 5G Standalone (SA) network, and MediaTek’s Redcap testing platform. The Redcap technology itself, introduced in 3GPP Release 17, empowers 5G to be extended to devices that do not require its full spectrum of capabilities. This innovation carries the potential to greatly amplify the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem and expedite its proliferation throughout the industry.
Of paramount importance, BT is actively evaluating Redcap’s potential to support new 5G use cases that could be of immense benefit to both EE’s business and consumer customer bases. In a landscape where traditional 5G devices, such as smartphones, often come laden with complex hardware and power-hungry features resulting in increased costs, size, and power consumption, Redcap technology has honed its focus on simplifying 5G-enabled devices. Specifically, it aims to streamline smaller IoT devices, like wearables, health trackers for consumers, as well as robust routers, environmental sensors, and other condition-based monitoring tools. These devices inherently require less battery life and bandwidth, and Redcap ensures they maintain peak performance while optimising power efficiency.
Crucially, Nokia has played a pivotal role in advancing Redcap IoT functionality within the telecommunications industry. Phil Siveter, CEO for Nokia in the UK, expressed, “The introduction of Redcap will unlock new 5G opportunities for many industries, with potentially billions of new devices connected with 5G. Our field tests with BT Group show that Nokia’s 5G standalone networks are ready to support Redcap devices.”
Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer at BT, highlighted the significance of this trial, stating, “This trial with Nokia demonstrates the potential of Redcap technology in unlocking a new wave of innovation within the 5G services ecosystem. This is especially the case as we move towards the arrival of 5G SA, bringing with it enhanced reliability, responsiveness, security, and speed, which, through 5G Redcap, promises to benefit a host of new IoT devices and use cases.”
Robert Moffat, Deputy Director at MediaTek, echoed the sentiment of collaboration and innovation, affirming that their joint endeavour with Nokia and BT Group aligns with MediaTek’s commitment to driving innovation and expanding the potential of 5G SA to encompass a broader ecosystem of devices and use cases. This triumphant collaboration has ushered in an era of transformation within the telecommunications sector, heralding the promise of an even more connected and efficient future.