Ericsson, Nokia stand ready for 600 MHz deployments

Ericsson tower
Ericsson says its 600 MHz products maximize low-band spectral efficiency through advanced MIMO capabilities. Image: Ericsson

Both Nokia and Ericsson said they’re ready to provide commercial gear for operators’ 600 MHz spectrum, with Ericsson promising its equipment will be ready by the third quarter and Nokia saying it’s already completed the first prestandard testing of 600 MHz on commercially available hardware.

Naturally, operators are eager to get their hands on the airwaves as quickly as they can. The incentive auction freed up a significant amount of low-band spectrum from TV broadcasters through an innovative bidding system in which broadcasters agreed to relinquish their spectrum through a reverse auction while wireless carriers and others bid on those airwaves through a traditional forward auction. Forward bidding in the event ended in February, with bidders committing $19.63 billion.

Ericsson said its 600 MHz products maximize low-band spectral efficiency through advanced MIMO capabilities. The 600 MHz products are based on Ericsson's 4478 radio platform, which was introduced at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.

RELATED: As incentive auction ends, carriers push for quick access to 600 MHz spectrum

"The FCC's first-of-its-kind Incentive Auction provides guidance to other countries wishing to repurpose spectrum,” said Glenn Laxdal, head of Network Products, Ericsson North America, in a press release. “The quick deployment of service in the 600 MHz spectrum will help improve the coverage footprint, increase data speeds and enable continued industry growth."

Meanwhile, Nokia announced in March that it is creating a test bed for 600 MHz terminal ecosystem development and availability, saying it believes the winning bidders will use the spectrum to extend LTE footprints, augment capacity and improve data speeds. The company is working on prestandard products and solutions within its 4.5G Pro and 4.9G portfolio to better serve those customers who want to deploy radio electronics in 2017.

Nokia said the early launch of services in the band is expected to first come to rural areas due to the large cell size enabled by the low band. In addition, 600 MHz could be used to enhance consumer experience in metropolitan areas by increasing capacity and improving indoor coverage.

"We've been anticipating the end of the 600 MHz auction, and we haven't waited,” stated Ricky Corker, head of North America for Nokia, in a release. “Nokia has been doing the necessary development, testing and software creation over the last several quarters. We are ready to work from day one with those customers who want to bring 600 MHz to market."

Nokia said it implemented its 600 MHz solution on its commercial LTE eNodeB, demonstrating an end-to-end LTE call using a test device. It also implemented 20 MHz frequency block on the 600 MHz band, maximum throughput of 387Mbps, 4-way uplink receive diversity, 4X4 MIMO technology and 256 QAM.