Road to 5G: Singtel, Ericsson Partner to Pilot Massive MIMO and Cloud RAN

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Singtel and Ericsson are working together to pilot Massive MIMO and Cloud RAN on Singtel’s 4G LTE network. Both technologies are key components in the evolution to 5G that will enable Singtel to expand its mobile network capacity to offer faster speeds by the end of the year.

Video traffic represents more than half of mobile traffic today. It is set to rise further with increasing adoption of video applications such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and 360-degree video, which imposes high demand on network capacity.

This is why networks need to evolve to gradually achieve ultra-high bandwidth, pervasive connectivity and low latency promised with 5G.

Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) is key to achieving Gigabit LTE speeds as it improves spectral efficiency to triple or quadruple the number of data paths of cellular base stations. This expands network capacity and improves user experience. Ericsson AIR 6468 radio, providing 64T64R Massive MIMO capabilities, will be tested and progressively deployed on Singtel’s 4G LTE network.

Both companies will also embark on a pilot of Cloud RAN which will provide Singtel with the flexibility to centralise, distribute, scale and virtualise radio access network functions to efficiently meet performance requirements today and on the road to 5G.

Yuen Kuan Moon, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, said, “Data traffic is on the rise and will increase exponentially with 4K video, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality services on the horizon. We are investing ahead to ensure that our networks have the capacity and speeds that will offer our customers the best mobile data experience in Singapore.”

Arun Bansal, Head of Business Unit Network Products, Ericsson, said, “The strategic collaboration with Singtel, provides a unique opportunity to be part of their 5G journey.”

Singtel offers Singapore’s widest mobile coverage and fastest mobile data speeds at 450Mbps. Singtel and Ericsson first signed a 5G MOU in January 2015 and were the first to showcase a 5G system in Southeast Asia in August 2016, achieving a downlink speed of 27.5 Gbps.