Special Content: Best Global Stories of Massive MIMO Deployment – Part 2


MIMO deployment uses multiple antennas that are located at both the source (transmitter) and destination (receiver). Those antennas are linked in order to minimize error and increase efficiency of a network.

Massive MIMO, takes MIMO technology and scales it up to hundreds or even thousands of antennas and terminals. These antennas, attached to a base station, focus the transmission and reception of signal energy into small regions of space, providing new levels of efficiency and throughput for the telecoms network.

As the next generation of wireless data networks, or 5G, must address not only future capacity constraints but also existing challenges—such as network reliability, coverage, energy efficiency and latency—with current communication systems. And hence, Massive MIMO, offers significant gains in wireless data rates and link reliability. It allows for data consumption from more users in a dense area without consuming any more radio spectrum or causing interference. This results in fewer dropped calls, a significant decrease in dead zones, and better quality data transmission, without spreading thin the increasingly scarce radio spectrum.

We are presenting some of the best global stories on Massive MIMO deployments:

Evolution to 5G: SmarTone, Ericsson trial FDD Massive MIMO

Ericsson and SmarTone, the mobile network operator in Hong Kong are trialing FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology as part of the operator’s network evolution plan towards 5G.

The trial, involving FDD Massive MIMO on 1800 MHz, represents the first of its kind for operators in Hong Kong. It is proving the capabilities of this key technology ahead of the live deployment in 2018 of AIR 3246, Ericsson’s new radio that can support Massive MIMO over 4G/LTE with Ericsson’s 5G Massive MIMO Plug-In.

Massive MIMO is a key technology that bridges network evolution from 4G to 5G, adding intelligent capacity and boosting user experience. Massive MIMO on FDD yields a multi-fold increase of network capacity and increase user throughput by up to five times, boosting performance for end users.

Stephen Chau, Chief Technology Officer of SmarTone, says: “Our extension of the strategic partnership with Ericsson in October last year includes a five-year network evolution plan towards 5G. This trial represents a significant milestone in our collaboration, and reinforces SmarTone’s leadership in the network evolution journey. Ericsson’s FDD Massive MIMO solution will play an instrumental part in providing our customers in dense urban environments with enhanced user experiences they have come to expect from SmarTone.”

Nishant Batra, Head of Product Area Network Infrastructure, Ericsson, says: “We are working closely with SmarTone to develop, trial, and deploy key 5G technologies that will further enhance the user experience. The recent LAA field trial, and now the trial of FDD Massive MIMO, enable us to jointly shape the next-generation network technology.”

Ericsson has recently launched its first radio, AIR 3246, supporting FDD Massive MIMO for both 4G and 5G. The technology enables operators – especially in metropolitan areas – to bring 5G to subscribers using today’s mid-band spectrum and boost capacity in their LTE networks.

Massive MIMO: Entel drives network partnership towards 5G with Ericsson

Ericsson has extended its 20-year strategic partnership with Entel, the largest telecommunications company in Chile. Under the terms of the new contract, Ericsson will prepare Entel’s network in the evolution path towards 5G by deploying its latest LTE FDD network technologies and LTE TDD Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output).

This will allow Entel to increase its competitiveness and capture additional revenue streams. Entel will be the first operator in Latin America to deploy Massive MIMO nationwide.

Massive MIMO is a wireless technology that uses multiple transmitters and receivers to transfer more data at the same time. Multi-antenna transmission is playing a critical role in the evolution of 4G and 5G networks.

Entel will also evolve the Radio Network Controllers and EVO controllers across the network, including remote locations such as Easter Island, and upgrade the transport network with the introduction of Ericsson’s microwave solutions, a section of which now tap into E-band spectrum to cater for capacity increases in backhaul and fronthaul.

Alfredo Parot, Vice President of Technologies and Operations, Entel, says: “Entel has a long-standing partnership with Ericsson that is based on a history of excellence in product and service delivery. Now, as we evolve our network to capture the new business opportunities of Gigabit LTE and the evolution towards 5G and IoT, we naturally extend this partnership with Ericsson in these areas. Our subscribers and enterprise customers will enjoy the benefits of a very high performance network in the region for years to come.”

Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, says: “With mobile traffic volumes expected to increase exponentially through 2020 and beyond, operators around the world are bolstering their existing networks to deliver higher speeds and lower latency to their subscribers. We write a new chapter in the history of our strategic partnership with Entel by evolving their network to Gigabit LTE and paving the way to 5G and beyond, cementing their leadership position among operators in the Latin American region.”

Within the agreement, Ericsson will also deliver several strategic core network projects intended to upgrade Entel’s voice and data networks to the latest generation in order to provide new end-user services, enable increased broadband capacity and higher data speeds, enhanced voice quality, optimized latency, and reduced network operation costs.

Ericsson has introduced its Adaptive Network Inventory solution (EAI) which will become an integral part of Entel’s Digital Transformation project. Deployment of the core network projects begins immediately and will be completed in different phases throughout 2018 and 2019.

Telenet Belgium, ZTE debut FDD Massive MIMO field application in Europe

ZTE Corporation and Telenet have announced the first FDD Massive MIMO field application in Europe. The field demonstration site was chosen in Werchter, home of Rock Werchter music festival.

The field application used 20MHz of spectrum and 6 terminals to complete an 12-stream verification, achieved an average single user speed of 120Mbps, 710Mbps peak cell speed, and improved spectrum efficiency by 3.3 times compared to traditional LTE base stations.

With the rapid growth of mobile broadband services, user data requirements have been increasing exponentially, but 4G spectrum limitations cause a bottleneck in network capacity improvement. Massive MIMO is a key 5G network technology, and a ZTE Pre5G core solution, introducing 5G capabilities into existing 4G networks.

ZTE was the first vendor to make Massive MIMO technology available for all FDD-LTE networks, which account for 85 percent of the world’s LTE networks. It will help operators significantly increase network capacity without the requirement of costly additional spectrum. More importantly, the deployment of FDD Massive MIMO does not require changes to the existing 4G network architecture, and is fully compatible with current 4G terminals. This brings immediate commercial benefits to the operator while boosting the customer experience.

Telenet and ZTE have been in a long-term strategic partnership since 2016, and ZTE is the sole radio network vendor. “We’re very excited that, with ZTE, we have completed the first FDD Massive MIMO trial in Europe, achieving the highest single cell throughput within the 20MHz spectrum. This new speed record is a milestone along our evolution to 5G, and we will continue to build a faster network with higher capacity, improving mobile users’ broadband experiences.” said Micha Berger, Telenet’s CTO.

“ZTE is very proud to work with Telenet in realising Europe’s first field application for FDD-LTE Massive MIMO technology. We believe that this solution can significantly improve Telenet network performance, delivering the best broadband experience to Telenet customers,” said Wenhao Tang, Vice President, CTO of Europe and America Region of ZTE. “In addition, ZTE will work closely with the Telenet Innovation Center, where we will continue development of new solutions and products for network performance improvement to provide an improved user experience and new services. This will help Telenet continuously improve network competitiveness and brand value.”

Optus Taps Huawei to Demo Massive MIMO, 3CC Carrier Aggregation in Live Network

World first achievement in pairing pre-5G technologies Massive MIMO with 3CC Carrier Aggregation in live network

Optus has announced the successful live network testing of combined Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and 3CC Carrier Aggregation technologies, 3CC Massive MIMO.

The network trial, conducted on live traffic at Macquarie Park in June 2017, attained a highest speed of 818 Mbps. It was completed with technology partner Huawei.

Both Massive MIMO and multiple Carrier Aggregation technologies are considered key to enabling 5G technologies, with Optus the first in the world to complete a successful combined live network implementation of the massive MIMO and 3CC CA technologies together in the same equipment.

Dennis Wong, Managing Director of Optus Networks, said “Earlier this year, Optus launched a 4.5G network and completed Australia’s first field trial of Massive MIMO technology.

“We’re committed to leading Australia in terms of 5G development and testing, and this recently completed world-first 3CC Massive MIMO test is further testament to our commitment and developments we have been able to achieve in this space.

Site capacity during the live testing was significantly improved by almost four times compared to that of legacy 4T4R MIMO base stations.

Massive MIMO is expected to be a key technology in 5G through the use of intelligent spatial diversity and 3D beamforming features, allowing a theoretical improved spectral efficiency up to 6 times that of a traditional antenna system.

The Massive MIMO Integrated Antenna system used in the live site was supplied by Huawei and capable to deliver 64T64R MIMO, supporting up to 80MHz of all four carriers of Optus’ 2300MHz TDD band.

Optus plans to rollout Massive MIMO sites in selected capital cities starting from the end of 2017. Optus’ customers will be able to directly benefit from Massive MIMO especially in high data traffic areas and should expect improved download speeds in congested areas.

This story first appeared inside the April issue of Disruptive Telecoms – an initiative by TelecomDrive.com