Huawei, Vodafone UK conduct 4.5G trial

An engineer checks the latest mobile network equipment at Vodafone UK's Test Centre in Newbury, UK.(Matt Alexander/PA Wire)

Huawei announced it is trialling a so-called 4.5G technology with Vodafone UK, in a move that the operator's CTO Jorge Fernandes said will ensure the company is ready to launch 5G services in the next four to five years.

The trial of LTE TDD+ technology is being conducted in the UK city of Manchester, and will result in a significant increase in the capacity and efficiency of Vodafone UK's existing 4G network, Huawei explained in a statement announcing the collaboration.

Fernandes said the trial will help to ensure that Vodafone UK's LTE network is "future-proofed for the expected arrival of 5G in four to five years' time," but noted that the TDD+ technology will also deliver more short-term benefits in the form of "continually improving our 4G performance for customers".

The trial involves new 4x4 multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) techniques, eight-way transmit and receive (8T8R), and beam forming. Huawei explained that beam forming and the four-way receiver diversity offer a significant improvement in the performance of LTE networks in heavily built up areas by combining the signals from multiple angles and co-located antennas to reduce interference and improve throughput.

Huawei added that the 4x4 MIMO delivers mobile data services at higher speeds and with greater accuracy, with the 8T8R beam forming increases average speeds and edge performance by concentrating user-specific energy and multiplexing resources between different users.

The vendor stated that the combination of MIMO with beam forming has improved Vodafone UK's ability to focus customers' mobile signals in specific directions to improve user experience and minimise interference during peak times.

In essence, the technology means that more signal reaches more subscribers, Huawei explained.

Veni Shone, Huawei's LTE TDD president, said the collaboration with Vodafone UK "has proved that 4.5G (TDD+) is a good solution to realise the potential of TDD spectrum".

The test network "immediately serves the LTE TDD capable commercial smartphones and successfully carries significant live network traffic," Shone added.

For more:
- see this Huawei announcement

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