Cambridge-based company, Stratospheric Platforms has announced the first successful demonstration of 5G broadband connectivity between a “stratospheric 5G mast” flying at 45,000 ft and a retail 5G smartphone, beating aerospace rivals to the world first.
The landmark telecoms trial was run in collaboration with the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) in the airspace above The Red Sea Project. Engineers connected to the local telecoms network, completing tests between a 5G base station, flying stratospheric antenna, and retail mobile devices.
The trial confirmed Stratospheric Platforms in its development of global 5G Internet and communications services, projecting a 5G signal to an area of 450km2, and proving the technology can achieve mobile download speeds comparable to terrestrial 5G networks and at significantly lower cost.
The joint team established three-way video calls between the land-based test site, a mobile device operated from a boat and a control site located 950 km away. Further land and heliborne tests demonstrated a user could stream 4K video to a mobile phone with an average latency of 1 millisecond above network speed. Signal strength trials, using a 5G enabled device moving at 100 km/h, proved full interoperability with ground-based masts and a consistent ‘five bars’ in known white spots.