ZTE, SoftBank achieve 956 Mbps in Massive MIMO test

ZTE Massive MIMO (ZTE)
In the actual verification, 24 terminals downloaded FTP data simultaneously. (ZTE)

ZTE, along with SoftBank and Wireless City Planning, verified Massive MIMO with 24 terminals downloading FTP data simultaneously at a rate of 956 Mbps on a 20 MHz bandwidth. The feat used pre5G TDD Massive MIMO 2.0 technology in a commercial network in Nagasaki, Japan.

It marks the first practical test in a commercial network after ZTE’s Pre5G TDD Massive MIMO achieved the rate of 1.1 Gbps in a 24-stream field test in Shenzhen, China. ZTE said it reached the first milestone with SoftBank in the Smart Life project.

SoftBank is ZTE’s first pilot partner in the Smart Life project, which ZTE considers an important strategic move for post-4G networks, the preliminary phase of 5G networks and even future 5G networks in the next three to five years. SoftBank and ZTE already have carried out R&D in the areas of spectrum efficiency, 4G/5G network integration, mobile bandwidth, IoT and the internet of vehicles.

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As ZTE explains it, in the actual verifications, the 24 terminals downloaded FTP data simultaneously. Through the core space division multiplexing technology, the new-generation Pre5G TDD Massive MIMO ensures that each user exclusively occupies 20 MHz spectrum resources on a single carrier. In a commercial network, the average user data rate reaches 40 Mbps or above, and the cell spectrum efficiency is improved by 7.7 times compared with that of traditional LTE cells.

"Smart Life is an important strategic project of ZTE,” said Bai Yanmin, general manager of ZTE's TDD and 5G products, in a statement. “In the next three to five years before and after 5G commercialization, we will make cooperative planning and joint verification with operators to provide technical solutions and support for user experience services in the 5G/Pre5G network, such as mobile bandwidth, IoT and ultra-low latency. We first started pilot cooperation with SoftBank, and this verification test of Massive MIMO 24 streams witnessed a good start of the project.”

ZTE plans to join hands with more partners to expand the Smart Life project in the future.

ZTE makes a point to call its work “Pre5G,” and said it first proposed the Pre5G concept and a series of solutions, which are intended to apply key 5G technologies in 4G networks in advance, in 2014. 

Meanwhile, Sprint, which is majority-owned by SoftBank Group, recently revealed at the Mobile World Congress Americas the results of its Massive MIMO deployments with Ericsson. Sprint believes Massive MIMO is a differentiator for the carrier because it can be easily deployed on high-band spectrum such as Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum

The Massive MIMO antennas use advanced horizontal and vertical beamforming technology to focus and transmit cellular signals into targeted locations. Sprint plans to deploy 64T64R Massive MIMO in cities across the U.S. starting in 2018, but it will be selective, focusing on high-traffic locations.