Huawei, HKT tout 4.5G 1 Gbps achievement

Huawei, in partnership with Chinese mobile operator HKT, demonstrated what the companies are calling the world's first 4.5G 1 Gbps network at the Global Mobile Broadband Forum this week. According to Huawei, the network showed a peak download speed of 1.2 Gbps, a step toward the 6 Gbps Huawei said would be necessary for a commercial 4.5G network.

"Today we are marking the beginning of the 4.5G era of wireless communications, with 1Gbps as the new mobile broadband network rate benchmark," said Ken Hu, rotating CEO and deputy chairman of the board for Huawei, in a press release. "As the strategic partner of the world's leading telecom operators, Huawei will continue to help them build the innovative wireless networks that will expand their business and make our world more connected."

The demonstration was the result of what Huawei and HKT said is the first 4 component carrier (CC) carrier aggregation (CA) network in the world, following the companies' previous announcements of a 3CC CA network earlier this year and 2CC CA network in 2014. The 4CC CA and increased download speeds are part of Huawei's innovation toward 4.5G, an in-between network evolution that has been described as a mashup of 4G/5G technologies, 3GPP enhancements to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and a variety of other LTE-A-specific technology.

Huawei has been touting 4.5G since this past summer, announcing plans for 4.5G-related networking at Shanghai Disney Resort and China Unicom Shanghai. In addition, the company announced earlier this year that it would launch a commercial 4.5G network in 2016, featuring "latency rates of around 10 milliseconds, peak downlink speeds of around 6 Gbps and the ability to support 100,000 connections within a single square kilometer." The announcement of the Nov. 3 demonstration made no mention of test latency speeds, however.

Supporting the projected increase in network capacity for 4.5 and 5G likely will include the use of additional spectrum, such as the FCC's recent proposition to use the 28, 37, 39 and 64-71 GHz bands. The commission plans to promote that proposition at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15), which kicked off earlier this week in Geneva.

As WRC opened, Huawei made its own spectrum band-related announcement concerning the development of future mobile networks at its Global Mobile Broadband Forum. The equipment company, along with GSMA and Plum Consulting, announced research that placed the economic benefits of opening additional C-band spectrum in London and Shenzhen, China, at around $440 million.

Both Huawei announcements pertain to the company's recently unveiled Mobile Broadband 2020 five-year strategy, which relies heavily on innovation.

"From now until 2020, we have three main targets: supporting 6.7 billion mobile broadband users, supporting a 1Gbps access rate, and supporting 1 billion connections for the cellular Internet of Things," said Huawei's Hu.

For more:
- see this release
- see the MBB 2020 release
- see the GSMA's C-band analysis here

Special Report: The meaning of 4.5G: Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm weigh in

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