Verizon completes massive MIMO trial with Ericsson, Qualcomm using TM9 device

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To fully realize the gains of massive MIMO, both the network and devices need to support new TM9 functionality, which leverages advanced beamforming schemes between the network equipment and the mobile device.

Verizon said it completed the first successful FDD massive MIMO trial with a fully compatible customer device thanks to its collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies.

The trial included the use of the latest Ericsson massive MIMO software and hardware as well as a mobile test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 LTE using Transmission Mode 9 (TM9). That's an enhancement for consumer devices that make them fully compatible with massive MIMO, according to a press release. Qualcomm just introduced the 845 Mobile Platform at the Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii in early December.  

“We don’t wait for the future, we build it. And this is another great example of moving the industry forward,” Verizon Chief Network Engineer and Head of Wireless Networks Nicola Palmer said in the release. “Massive MIMO is a critical component of our 4G LTE Advancements and will play an important role in 5G technology that will result in single digit latency and scalability in the billions of connections.”

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RELATED: Verizon, Ericsson roll out FDD massive MIMO in Irvine, California

Back in October, Verizon and Ericsson announced they had achieved a milestone in LTE Advanced technologies by completing their first deployment of FDD massive MIMO on Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, California. Massive MIMO improves both spectral and energy efficiency, increasing network capacity for currently compatible devices in the market. Customers experience higher and more consistent speeds when using apps and uploading and downloading files.

An LTE Advanced technology, massive MIMO has been described as like having a bunch of flashlights targeting users rather than a single floodlight. The high number of transmitters enables more possible signal paths and beamforming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is located, dramatically cutting down on interference.

RELATED: Editor’s Corner—From Sprint to T-Mobile, what’s all the fuss about massive MIMO?

Ericsson’s massive MIMO portfolio is expected to be available next year, putting it in line with commercial smartphones with the TM9 compatible chipset, which are expected to hit the market in the first half of 2018.

The past year saw a lot of talk around massive MIMO, which is considered foundational to 5G. At the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas in September, Sprint and Ericsson unveiled results of 2.5 GHz massive MIMO field tests conducted in Seattle and Plano, Texas, using Sprint’s spectrum and Ericsson’s radios.

In early September, Ericsson said massive MIMO was part of a trial with T-Mobile US using mid-band FDD spectrum on three sites in Baltimore, Maryland. Back in February, Blue Danube Systems announced the completion of commercial trials using its massive MIMO technology in licensed FDD LTE spectrum with AT&T and Shentel.