Telefónica plans MIMO, QAM upgrades to Spanish 4G network following trials with Nokia, Qualcomm

Nokia base station used during Telefónica 4G MIMO, QAM trial

Telefónica announced plans to upgrade its domestic 4G network by deploying Multiple-input, Multiple-output (MIMO) 4x4 technology and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) to boost the speed of mobile terminals, after trialing the advances in conjunction with Nokia and Qualcomm.

The Spanish incumbent said the partners achieved download speeds of up to 800 Mbps during tests of the 4G upgrades using Nokia radio network equipment and a test terminal running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.

Telefónica Spain will now deploy the 4G technology advances to gradually increase the speed that mobile terminals can achieve, the operator stated.

Joaquín Mata, director of operations and network at Telefónica Spain, said improving the performance of 4G networks is a first step on the road to deploying 5G technology. “Today’s test is one more milestone in Telefónica’s commitment to bringing the best mobile broadband network capabilities and best services to all customers.”

The data rates achieved in the trials take the operator “a little bit closer” to achieving the Gigabit data rates promised by LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology, Mata explained, adding that he has no doubts “LTE-A will greatly surpass data transmission speeds of 1 Gbps in the next few years.”

Telefónica explained that MIMO increases the number of data flows that mobile terminals can use within a given cell, and that 256 QAM enables the use of a greater amount of bits per signal transmitted over the air.

Enrico Salvatori, SVP and president of Qualcomm Europe, said the trials of the 4G technology advancements with Telefónica and Nokia were a milestone, and that the trio will continue to collaborate “to transfer this improved usage experience to the end user.”

Telefónica is the latest in a growing list of European operators that have either trialed or deployed MIMO and QAM.

Vodafone Ireland, for example, recorded a 200 per cent increase in the uplink speed of its LTE network after deploying an Ericsson carrier aggregation (CA) software upgrade that utilised 64 QAM. French operator Bouygues Telecom in May announced that it had achieved data rates in excess of 1 Gbps in trials of MIMO 4x4 and 256 QAM.

MIMO 4x4 also played a key part in a recent live trial conducted by Deutsche Telekom and Huawei in Berlin that saw data traffic carried over five carrier frequencies.

For more:
- see this Telefónica announcement

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