Huawei completes large-scale 5G field trial with NTT DoCoMo

Huawei says it completed the world's first large-scale field trial of new 5G radio access technologies with Japan's NTT DoCoMo. The trial was conducted in an outdoor test site in Chengdu, China, where Huawei was able to stream live video to its booth at the CEATEC Japan 2015 trade show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.

The trial represents the first large-scale multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) test, with a concurrent connectivity of 24 user devices in the macro cell environment of the sub 6 GHz frequency band. According to Huawei, it also validated the performance of Space Code Multiple Access (SCMA) and Filtered OFTD (F-OFDM) in the field, both of which are 5G new air interface technologies being proposed by Huawei.

5G standards have not yet been written but vendors like Huawei are wasting no time in laying the groundwork toward commercialization. Huawei sees this latest test with DoCoMo as a key step toward accelerating 5G standardization. The Chinese vendor plans to launch the first 5G pilot networks with its partners in 2018 and aims to contribute to the 5G ecosystem for interoperability testing in 2019.

In the U.S., Huawei is absent from Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) list of 5G partners, which includes Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Cisco, Nokia  (NYSE:NOK), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Samsung. Verizon expects to begin technology field trials in 2016.  

5G technology is expected to offer 50 times the throughput of LTE, have a latency in the single milliseconds and be able to accommodate the anticipated explosion in Internet-connected devices.

Huawei previously said it will demonstrate 5G in 2018 with Russian operator MegaFon in conjunction with the FIFA World Cup. South Korea also hopes to launch a 5G trial network for the Winter Olympic Games that will be held in PyeongChang in 2018, while Japan intends to launch a 5G trial network for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo. Commercial launches are targeted for 2020.

"As the first in the world to succeed with such a large multi-user environment test, this is an important milestone," said Takehiro Nakamura, vice president and managing director of NTT DoCoMo's 5G Laboratory, in a release. "This is very encouraging as the industry works to commercialize 5G by 2020. Both Huawei and DoCoMo teams have made tremendous efforts. I look forward to even more impressive results when we move to the next phase of field trial in Japan."

The cell average downlink throughput of MU-MIMOs is 1.34 Gbps, with 3.6 Gbps on download peak throughput in a 100 MHz ultra-wide band channel; such speeds are more than 10 times faster than single layer single user MIMO (SU-MIMO) technology.

"This joint field trial represents a significant advance toward fulfilling Huawei's commitment to developing 5G technology standards before 2018," Wen Tong, Huawei fellow and CTO of Huawei Wireless Networks, said in the release. "Results like these show we are making rapid progress and are on the right path. I am confident that what we have learned here will be reflected in even more innovative technological advances as we continue working on 5G research."

Huawei and DoCoMo announced their partnership on joint trials of the new 5G air-interface technologies in March 2015. The current field trials are taking place at a dedicated test site in Chengdu that enables both companies to systematically verify the technologies, including MU-MIMO, F-OFDM and SCMA.

For more:
- see the release

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