Road to 5G: Vodafone launches 4.9G in Sydney’s West

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First FDD Massive MIMO trial site lights up in Parramatta

Vodafone is continuing the evolution of its mobile network in the lead up to 5G, with the launch of 4.9G in Parramatta.

The technology, called Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), uses Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) 1800MHz spectrum. FDD band spectrum was first demonstrated for use in Massive MIMO by Vodafone in 2017, where it achieved a cell throughput speed of 717 Mbps across eight devices.

Vodafone’s 4.9G site in Parramatta is the first of five sites across Australia that will act as trial locations for Vodafone 4.9G, with Sydney’s Chinatown and Haymarket to follow.

Vodafone’s Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Millroy, said the trial and upcoming rollout of 4.9G means Vodafone customers will experience the benefits of the exponential increase in capacity which FDD Massive MIMO technology brings.

“4.9G is supercharging our network, with customers in 4.9G areas to enjoy a higher quality network experience, smoother streaming, and more consistent speeds, even in times of high usage,” Millroy said

“The trial is another significant step towards 5G and we’ll be rolling out 4.9G to more areas as the year progresses.

“We are focused on continuing to evolve and enhance our 4G network to deliver real benefits to our customers now, while Australians wait for the introduction of 5G to consumers in coming years.

“Vodafone is well on the way to be 5G-ready once compatible spectrum becomes available, with the rollout of our fibre transmission network nearing completion and the on-going project to virtualise our core network.

“From 2016 to 2017, we saw an almost 40% increase in data usage on our network. Data usage has been rising steadily for years and with the introduction of our Unlimited mobile data plans, we don’t expect this to slow down.”

As communications technologies continue to advance and service providers across the globe strive to deliver the best experience to their customers, the Massive MIMO market is heading towards a boom. Global research firm estimates the Massive MIMO market to be worth more than $US20.91 billion by 2026², a compound annual growth rate of 41 per cent between 2018 and 2026.

“The projected growth in the Massive MIMO market indicates the potential and untapped opportunities for the telecommunications industry to improve its network offerings. Rather than focusing on stunts around 5G, Vodafone is investing in technologies that will help deliver real benefits to our customers now.”

“The sites selected for the 4.9G trial are in high-density, high usage areas where we can really exercise the benefits we saw during the field demonstration.

Vodafone will build upon the success of the trial sites by rolling out 4.9G to select sites throughout 2018.