One of the highlights of a 5G trial that U.S. Cellular conducted with Ericsson in Madison, Wisconsin, involved virtual reality, proving that ultra-high speeds and low latency will enable VR applications, one of the more talked-about attributes of 5G.
The companies report that they achieved peak throughput speed of 8.5 Gbps; for the VR tests, they hit peak speeds of 4 Gbps. They also tested augmented reality, advanced beamforming and massive MIMO. The tests were conducted in rural and suburban environments in Madison.
The companies also said U.S. Cellular is the first carrier to conduct a trial at 28 GHz with radios at macro antenna height of 123 feet.
“This was an important trial for us to understand the propagation characteristics and path loss at 28 Ghz, and we are pleased with our learnings,” said Michael S. Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer at U.S. Cellular, in a release. “Our customers deserve to have a network that keeps up with their lifestyle, so we are constantly working to ensure that they will always have access to the latest technology and data speeds available.”
“5G activities continue to accelerate across North America as all operators prepare for deployments,” said Niklas Heuveldop, head of Market Area North America at Ericsson. “U.S. Cellular is aggressively testing 5G to determine how to best leverage the new capabilities for its customers. Working with U.S. Cellular on this series of 5G trials has been greatly beneficial for Ericsson as we continue to explore innovative applications that 5G networks will enable.”
Previously, the two companies achieved 9 Gbps in trials in 2016 that used the 15 GHz band. Ericsson has said it was using the 14.7-15.1 GHz because its gear was designed to operate at that frequency in Sweden.
U.S. Cellular also conducted 28 GHz tests with Nokia in 2016 and they were able to see speeds of 5 Gbps and ultralow latency under 2 milliseconds. The companies used Nokia’s commercially available 5G-ready AirScale radio platform in tests were designed to put the gear through its paces in both indoor and outdoor environments.
U.S. Cellular also was granted permission in May to conduct tests in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Band Radio Services (CBRS) band. That grant for locations in Maine and North Carolina is valid until Dec. 27.