Nokia, Zain Saudi Arabia test multiple, advanced 4.5G features to evolve towards 5G

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Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia have tested advanced 4.5G features including uplink carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO, downlink 256 QAM as well as uplink 64 QAM, achieving higher throughput.

The trial, which took place in Jeddah, will help Zain Saudi Arabia to improve the mobile broadband experience for its subscribers, and evolve toward the next generation technologies of 4.5G Pro, 4.9G and eventually 5G.

Advanced 4.5G features such as multi-band carrier aggregation, higher order modulation and higher MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) allow operators to increase network capacity and speed with existing radio network resources and available spectrum bands. Combining the various advanced features of 4.5G is a cost-efficient means to evolve networks on the path toward 4.5G Pro, 4.9G, and 5G.

Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer, Zain Saudi Arabia, said: “With the exponential growth in the demand for ultra-high-speed mobile broadband services in the Saudi market, we continue to invest in our network and adopt the latest technologies available on the market. With this successful trial with our partner Nokia, we are confident that our network will evolve smoothly toward 4.5G Pro, 4.9G and 5G. This joint trial reiterates our commitment to constantly upgrade our networks in order to play our role in the digital transformation of the Saudi economy, and provide world-class customer experience.”

Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia Customer Team at Nokia, said: “Due to the rapidly growing use of data-hungry applications by smartphone users in Saudi Arabia, future networks will require a very high network capacity and throughput to deliver gigabytes of data. With our future-proof technologies, we are committed to helping leading operators like Zain Saudi Arabia evolve their network to address this with their existing network resources with simple software upgrades.”

Overview of the solutions used for the trial:

•Nokia’s Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station, a Single RAN (radio access network) Advanced platform, provided high capacity throughput

•Uplink carrier aggregation software aggregated 1800 and 2100 MHz bands, creating larger, virtual carrier bandwidths and boosting the network capacity and uplink speeds of up to 43 Mbps

•4X4 MIMO: Four antennas both on the base stations and mobile devices improved the network performance by 88% to reach the download speed of up to 134 Mbps per 10 MHz carrier

•Downlink 256 QAM : This higher order modulation increased the downlink speed by 36% per carrier to reach speeds of up to 98 Mbps

•Uplink 64 QAM: It improved the spectral efficiency and the uplink speed by 32% to reach speeds of up to 32 Mbps per carrier

•Network implementation and multi-layer optimization services to plan and optimize 2x CA for maximum data throughput