Some places will only be 2-5X. With hundreds and soon thousands of systems in Japan and China, there's no doubt the technology works. SoftBank and China Mobile were first in the world to deploy, Now, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon are discussing when, not whether. Since Sprint is owned by SoftBank, it was easy to predict they would join in. Mike Dano at Fierce had this story a month ago; now Ottendorfer has filled in the details.
"Massive MIMO – massive volumes of input and output streams – might sound like geek talk – it’s really just the ability with massive computing power to add massive numbers of antennas elements in the antennas on our cell sites. And 3D beamforming supported by Massive MIMO is simply more cell signals moving in both horizontal and vertical directions."
Gig LTE & Massive MIMO will raise capacity on U.S. networks at least 4X and more likely 7-15X in the next few years.
The Japanese generally are seeing 4-10X capacity improvements. The Chinese assume 3X. The technology is similar, both sourcing from ZTE and Huawei. MIMO efficiency is highly dependent on terrain; the receiver tells the multiple signals apart by the different ways they bounce off buildings, etc. At an extreme, line of sight on a flat terrain sees almost no improvement; Håkan Eriksson, now Telstra's CTO, told me classic MIMO produced little gain on flat terrain in the outback. Beamforming in Massive MIMO would do better. Further progress is coming from HPUE, HetNets & SON, better software, full duplex, and half a dozen other emerging technologies. Carrier Aggregation allows previously mostly fallow spectrum (3.5 GHz) to be put to use. Sharing spectrum is now working; we're seeing that first in LAA but there's no technical reason it shouldn't be used across 3/4ths of the spectrum.
Further progress is coming from HPUE, HetNets & SON, better software, full duplex, and half a dozen other emerging technologies. Carrier Aggregation allows previously mostly fallow spectrum (3.5 GHz) to be put to use. Sharing spectrum is now working; we're seeing that first in LAA but there's no technical reason it shouldn't be used across 3/4ths of the spectrum.
The result, 10X to 25X capacity improvement, will only be held back by the telcos' inability to sell that much.
Here are Ottendorfer's comments from Sprint.
#MWC17: Breaking New Ground with Gigabit LTE, Massive MIMO and HPUE
By Günther Ottendorfer, Chief Operating Officer - Technology
G'day and Buenos Tardes from beautiful Barcelona where Gigabit Class LTE and Massive MIMO are moving from theory into real-life concepts and implementations at Mobile World Congress 2017. We’re on the ground for the biggest wireless event of the year showcasing these important stepping stones from LTE Plus to 5G on the Sprint network.
One of the highlights you’ll find this week is Sprint and Ericsson conducting an industry-first live demonstration of 1 Gbps class performance over 60 MHz of LTE TDD spectrum. And with Nokia we’re conducting the first public Massive MIMO demonstration for the U.S. market using 64X64 TDD LTE.
Massive MIMO – massive volumes of input and output streams – might sound like geek talk – it’s really just the ability with massive computing power to add a massive numbers of antennas elements in the antennas on our cell sites. And 3D beamforming supported by Massive MIMO is simply more cell signals moving in both horizontal and vertical directions. More antenna elements and more cell signals mean the Sprint LTE Plus network can increase its data traffic in high-demand sectors up to 10 times. 10 times! And in the future, these technologies will be a key element of our high-capacity 5G network.
With capacity comes speed, and you’ll see at Mobile World Congress that we’re showing off some amazing speeds with Gigabit Class LTE and Massive MIMO. But what’s most important is the capacity of our LTE Plus network. With holdings of more than 204 MHz of spectrum in the U.S., and more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 markets, Sprint has more 5G-capable spectrum and capacity than any other carrier in the U.S.
Why does this matter? Well, as my friend Dr. John Saw, Sprint’s CTO formulated it, in the land of unlimited wireless, spectrum is King!
Capacity Drives Innovative New Services
4K and 8K TV, and applications such as HD Virtual Reality – these are the types of services that Gigabit-class performance will enable. And Sprint’s large amount of capacity allows us to offer services such as Unlimited Data, Talk & Text plan, and keep meeting customers growing demand for new high-speed, bandwidth-intensive applications, both now and in the future.
Also very important, Sprint is fortunate to be able to offer these future services using its own licensed spectrum – giving customers a reliable and sustainable quality experience without relying on unlicensed resources that might be available at some times and not at others. And we can do this not just in one small market, but in all major markets nationwide!
HPUE Builds Momentum at #MWC17
Another technology we’re very excited about is High Performance User Equipment (HPUE). Sprint helped pioneer this new technology that is available only on the Sprint network in the U.S. On Sunday, before the official launch of #MWC17, I was very lucky and happy to participate in the celebration of the launch of the LG G6 – an incredible new device with an amazing 18:9 display soon available to Sprint customers. And, it’s the FIRST HPUE-capable smartphone that we’re welcoming to the Sprint network! The debut of the G6 is an important step forward in building the global HPUE ecosystem, with progress being made in record time after the standardization of the technology in December last year.
With HPUE, Sprint customers using the LG G6 as the first capable device (and many devices soon to follow), can expect even better coverage, particularly indoors where the majority of wireless traffic occurs. That’s because the innovative HPUE technology can extend our 2.5 GHz coverage by up to 30 percent to nearly match our 1.9 GHz coverage.
We’re also truly excited and proud of Herkole Sava, Director of Technology Development and the lead technologist at Sprint responsible for the development of HPUE. He’ll be honored here at Mobile World Congress with an award from the Global TDD LTE Initiative (GTI) for his contributions to this important new technology. Thank you Herkole - well done!
For those of you here in Barcelona, come check out our demos with Ericsson (Hall 2, Booth 2060) and Nokia (Hall 3, Booth 3A10). And stay tuned for more exciting news from Sprint and our partners as we continue our LTE Plus journey with Gigabit Class LTE, Massive MIMO, HPUE and other exciting new technologies that enhance our network for customers today and in the future.
Computerworld said at the end of last year we are the most improved and happiest carrier. With our significantly improved performance, and the outlook on all these exciting new technologies in combination with our rich spectrum asset, we are sure with regard to our network that you ain’t seen nothing yet!
mfg – go
(“mit freundlichen grüssen” which means “with kind regards”)