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UPDATE Ericsson Trial 10Gbps 5G Mobile Broadband Network in Japan

Posted Monday, May 12th, 2014 (8:36 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 2,264)
5g uk mobile broadband

The standard for the next generation of 5G mobile communications technology is still being debated, yet that hasn’t stopped telecoms giant Ericsson from teaming up with Japanese mobile firm NTT DOCOMO to test its own 10Gbps+ (Gigabits per second) capable solution in Yokosuka; albeit using the 15GHz radio frequency band.

NTT DOCOMO has always been one of the first pioneers of new mobile communication technologies and thus their plan to achieve “ultra-high bit rates” of more than 10Gbps as part of a 5G trial should thus come as no surprise.

Meanwhile Ericsson claims to have developed advanced antenna technologies with wider bandwidths, higher frequencies and shorter transmission time intervals, as well as radio base stations built with baseband units and radio units developed specifically for the 5G trial.

Seizo Onoe, NTT DOCOMO’s Executive Vice President and CTO, said:

5G studies are starting to gain real momentum as we point toward 2020. We appreciate that 5G will provide significant performance enhancements to support future new applications that will impact both users and industry. We look forward to showing the potential of 5G radio access technologies via this experimental trial.”

A quick glance at one of Ericsson’s 5G white papers suggests that their technology would be designed to operate in all sorts of different frequency bands, although it’s unclear why 15GHz has been chosen for the trial. This might be more difficult to implement in the UK / Europe where such frequencies are often already allocated to Satellite, military, point-to-point communications and maritime systems.

Ofcom’s recently published radio spectrum strategy (here) also seems to be focused on much lower frequency bands, which are generally better for coverage but not so good if you want to deliver a lot of capacity (note: high frequency but shorter range gives you the best speeds).

At any rate we’ve already seen various different so-called “5G” trials from companies like Samsung and Huawei, although as yet these are all just possibilities and the various political or regulator forces will still need to make the ultimate decision about which direction the future technology takes.

Clearly any solution will need to operate at both a lower frequency, to help coverage, and a higher frequency for more capacity, such as in urban areas. But at least everybody seems to agree on the 2018-2020 timeframe for introduction. In the meantime, UK based 4G networks are still a long way from reaching their maximum potential of 1Gbps+ via LTE Advanced technology, with only EE currently looking at the next step via summer 2014 trials of 300Mbps+ planned.

UPDATE 12:20pm

In related news the Government of South Korea has committed around £940m to roll-out its own 5G service, with trials due by December 2017 and a commercial deployment set for 2020. No specific technology choice is mentioned, although local Smartphone giant Samsung has been testing its own unique twist on 5G connectivity using some high frequency bands.

Previously the developed Asian countries have led the way with new mobile services but this time around the UK and Europe have also been trying to steal a march on their rivals. But sooner or later somebody is going to have to choose which standard to use and as before it looks like we might end up with different approaches for different parts of the world.

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15 Responses
  1. Chris Conder

    they all need decent fibre feeds. And those are sadly lacking whilst the monopoly holds the strings.

    • New_Londoner

      @Chris
      Not sure there are any issues with the provision of fibre for mobile operators. Do you have any evidence from mobile operators to the contrary?

    • FibreFred

      lol, oh Chris you really are turning into a BT hating troll, no offense but that really is how you come across now :|

      This is a typical example right here, there are many suppliers to provide backhaul for mobile masts, no-one is restricted to using BT

    • JNeuhoff

      Actually, in some areas it is indeed very difficult to get proper fibre backhauls. There is a reason why mobile networks are only economic in densely populated areas. This is a economic reality and has nothing to do with those BT trolls here.

    • Unknown101

      @Chris ha ha ha, customers can order backhaul from whoever they wish. Three have used Virgin, many use BT. Maybe B4RN should offer up their expertise in the areas they are running their amazing fibres, probably because these mobile operators want SLG if anything was to happen to their services – what SLG’s do B4RN offer just out of curiousity? (Not being a troll I just genuinely don’t know).

    • zemadeiran

      Don’t you mean SLA?

    • Unknown101

      SLG – Service level guarantees

    • Umm Chris you do know that Virgin Media supply GigE fibre backhaul to EE and Three, right?

      Don’t need fibre to every mast. They’re masts; they can and do also use point to point mesh wireless solutions to a mast that does have fibre backhaul.

      Mobile mast backhaul is, unlike >50% of the country’s fixed lines, something Openreach definitely don’t have a monopoly over.

    • TheFacts

      This is the Chris who a few years ago did not know that fibre had been in use for 30 years connecting exchanges and business premises. She really should learn about the UK telecomms market and products.

    • No Clue

      Remembering what anyone said a few years ago on the internet is ultimately more psychologically disturbed.

  2. zemadeiran

    LTE Advanced paired with PCell could indeed be a paradigm shift in last mile access :)

    This combo is definitely where I would place my bet and back haul would be taken care of via the mesh itself.

    We do not need to fixate entirely on fibre/fiber…

  3. I have no idea why EE are bothering with 300Mb, presumably as a precursor to a deployment in the not too distant future, let alone DoCoMo testing out 10Gb.

    Everyone knows 40Mb is more than enough for everyone for the foreseeable future fixed line, let alone mobile.

    • Remember the peak speeds like 300Mbps or 10Gbps in the Japanese test are shared capacity not single connection.

    • Could happily sell a service that could reach up to 100Mb or more on EE’s 300Mb/cell data rate.

      As an EE/DT/FT investor I am concerned at their spending money on these things when they aren’t necessary rather than increasing my dividends or handing it back to me via share buybacks.

  4. zemadeiran

    I have been testing EE’s 4G for a week or so here in W10, I must say that the upload does impress and all from a Alcatel mifi device.

    I am awaiting a new fttc connection this Thursday and the cabinet at 180m should see a decent speed. I prefer upload due to working from home and will be happy with a stable connection rather than adsl2+ that suffered from sync problems due to noise etc.

    Saying this, I would have no problem using EE’s 4G as a main connection if the tight bastards did 100GB a month which is needed due to the kids smashing iplayer et all.

    Surprising, hence my comment on lte pcell.

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