NetCom, the Norway-based subsidiary of TeliaSonera, said it had reached speeds of up to 1 Gbps in a demonstration together with Chinese vendor Huawei of a new technology called LTE Advanced Pro.
Standards body 3GPP approved LTE Advanced Pro in October and described it as a "new LTE marker" that will be included in Release 13, which will be frozen in March 2016. LTE Advanced Pro will allow mobile standards users to associate various new features with a distinctive marker that evolves the LTE and LTE Advanced technology series, 3GPP said.
NetCom claimed to be the first operator in the world to take the LTE Advanced Pro technology out of the test laboratory and build a pilot outdoors under real life conditions. To achieve the high speed, the operator transmitted data over four frequency bands simultaneously, using frequency resources that are already available for mobile today: 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz.
However, speeds of 1 Gbps on advanced 4G networks have previously been achieved in a test environment: in November, Three Hong Kong and Huawei said they reached this speed on the downlink by using carrier aggregation technology and pairing TDD with FDD spectrum.
According to Jon Christian Hillestad, CTO of TeliaSonera Norway, LTE Advanced Pro is "an important step towards 5G, which lies a few years ahead."
"We do not know exactly which speeds the future will require, but we know that the digitisation era, where the Internet of Things will continuously grow, will demand much higher speeds. The future will require bandwidth, high speed and no delay in transfers. We are preparing for that reality with the LTE Advanced Pro," Hillestad added.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has previously indicated that 5G network speeds under the IMT-2020 roadmap would be expected to reach up to 10 Gbps, with up to 20 Gbps supported "under certain conditions and scenarios".
The 3GPP also noted that the introduction of LTE Advanced Pro as a new marker "confirms the need for LTE enhancements to continue along their distinctive development track, in parallel to the future proposals for the 5G era."
Indeed, Nokia Networks CTO Hossein Moiin said earlier this year that new interfaces for 5G would have to coexist with existing interfaces such as LTE.
Abraham Foss, CEO of TeliaSonera Norway, further noted that NetCom already provides more than 95 per cent 4G population coverage in Norway.
"Today we have shown the future of mobile networks and a taste of what we can expect on our way to 5G," he said.
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