Vodafone takes ‘significant step towards 5G’

Plans to begin rollout of FDD Massive MIMO to mobile sites in 2018

Vodafone announced today that it had conducted its first field demonstration of Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) using a Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) band. 

The test in the Sydney suburb of Cronulla employed 20MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band and Huawei’s Active Antenna Unit (AAU). The telco hit throughput of 717 megabits per second across eight devices.

Huawei’s AAU supports beam-forming through 32 small internal transceivers.

The demonstration was a “significant step towards 5G,” said Vodafone’s general manager of technology strategy, Easwaren Siva.

In October last year Vodafone partnered with Nokia for its first trial of 5G technology in Australia. The trial involved 4.5GHz spectrum and achieved speeds of close to 5 gigabits per second.

“When it is rolled out in an area, FDD Massive MIMO will give the Vodafone network multiple-fold increase in capacity, delivering a consistently high quality network experience, even in times of high usage,” Siva said.

“It will enable Vodafone to maximise the efficiency of our current spectrum to deliver a better network experience to our customers.”

The telco plans to begin enabling FDD Massive MIMO at some cell sites in 2018.

Optus and Telstra have also begun preparing for the rollout of 5G. In September 2016, Telstra partnered with Ericsson for first public demonstration in Australia of 5G technology.

The demonstration involved two base stations and two prototype user devices, delivering simultaneous 10Gbps streams of data using 800MHz of spectrum in the 15GHz band.

In November last year, Optus and Huawei achieved a single-user transmission speed of 35Gpbs during a trial using spectrum in the 73GHz band.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is currently considering the accelerated release of some 5G-friendly spectrum.

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