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Ericsson achieves data speeds of 5Gbit/s in the race towards 5G

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Ericsson video

5G mobile may be six or seven years away from commercial deployment (the standards haven’t even yet been agreed) but that’s not stopping the leading technology vendors from pushing their R&D work through the lab process. Ericsson has a reputation to uphold with advanced mobile technology, and it is already publicising its achievements to date.

The Swedish company has revealed details of a live, over the air demonstration of its pre-standard 5G technology, which has achieved 5Gbit/s throughput in the 15 GHz frequency band. Ericsson has also released a short video (see above) detailing the demonstration, which was conducted in the presence of representatives from Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and South Korea’s SK Telecom – both telcos are under-going early trials and proof of concept work with their vendor partners, and Ericsson’s new radio base stations are being developed specifically for these trials.

“5G will impact both the access and core of mobile networks so we are working closely with leading operators, including NTT DOCOMO and SK Telecom, to ensure a practical and proactive evolution,” said Johan Wibergh, head of Business Unit Networks at Ericsson. “The development of advanced radio technologies is one of the first critical steps in the realization of a 5G future."

The live demonstration used a new radio interface concept (details of which are obviously being kept closely under wraps) and advanced Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology.

By operating at wider bandwidths, higher frequencies (such as the new 15GHz band) and shorter transmission time intervals, Ericsson is hoping to demonstrate how a new range of services and M2M devices can be supported, and how 5G base stations can help with HetGen networks and backhaul.

“5G promises significant performance enhancements to support future new applications that will impact both users and industry,” said Seizo Onoe, EVP and CTO at NTT DoCoMo. “To proceed with our joint project on 5G field trial further, we are very glad about Ericsson's success in demonstrating the real potential of 5G radio access technologies at this early stage.”

Japan and South Korea are likely to benefit from early 5G availability, thanks to the early trials already announced by both DoCoMo and SK Telecom. The latest edition of Ericsson’s Mobility Report shows that LTE subscription penetration has already reached over 30 per cent in Japan and over 50 per cent in South Korea. The report also forecasts a 10-times growth rate in mobile data traffic between 2013 and 2019 and highlights three to four times growth in the number of active cellular M2M devices by 2019, leading to market demand for 5G.

“SK Telecom plans to take the lead in 5G wireless services so we are pleased to see the progress that Ericsson has already made with their live demonstration of 5G performance,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, EVP and Head of ICT R&D Division at SK Telecom. “5G will build upon the investment that we have made in LTE and expand our service offering to all of our customers.”

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Ericsson video

ZTE pre-5G concept

Meanwhile, ZTE has announced this morning its first pre-5G concept. It believes that, under certain conditions, some 5G technologies can provide a 5G-like user experience on 4G terminals without changing the air interface standards.

“With next-generation 5G technologies being deployed in 2020, there were industry concerns over what technologies will be used in the next six years,” said Dr Xiang Jiying, ZTE's CTO of wireless products. “To address this, ZTE proposes to apply some of the 5G technology on top of 4G to meet users' requirements.”

As an example, it cites that reference codes for MIMO technology could be modified to support hundreds of antenna ports, and that terminals could also be modified accordingly.

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