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ZTE bags 5G success and sizeable network transformation deal

ZTE MWC

In yet another incremental step towards 5G, ZTE has claimed the completion of the first major phase of testing for 5G wireless technology in China.

The tests, ran in partnership with the Chinese government as part of its “5G China” initiative, looked to verify a variety of key enabling technologies required of the next generation of wireless networking.

According to ZTE, it took the lead in verifying key high and low frequency technologies, as well as multiple key air interface technologies such as multi-user shared access (MUSA), new waveforms and massive MIMO. The Chinese kit vendor also says this early phase testing is part of a broader testing strategy from the Chinese government involving multiple phases assessing separate areas of technology R&D.

The first phase consists of proof of concept testing for R&D technologies between 2016 and 2018; followed by a range of product R&D tests until 2020. According to ZTE, further subcategories of testing include key technology verification, technical solution verification and finally system verification. The aim of the Chinese government’s testing phases is apparently to promote the standardisation of competitive solutions, to accelerate the development of industrial processes and to ensure 5G is ready to be rolled out by 2020.

One of the principle wireless technologies in play here, and frequently touted as 5G’s great enabler, is beamforming. Beamforming allows for directional projection of signal to specific devices, thus ensuring the strongest possible signal is delivered to a handset. ZTE utilised technologies in this area to establish indoor and outdoor coverage, and said its beam tracking field tests showed single user peak data transfer rates reaching 1 Gbps levels in line of sight (LOS) and non-LOS scenarios.

Of course, ZTE is suitably chuffed.

“As a global pioneer in the 5G field, ZTE has been conducting comprehensive research and investing heavily in core key 5G technologies,” said ZTE’s GM of 5G products Bo Gang. “In full support of China’s 5G strategies, ZTE spares no efforts to promote the research of 5G technologies as well as industrial development, aiming to become one of the first suppliers of commercial 5G equipment, and laying a solid foundation for the commercial launch of 5G in 2020.”

ZTE’s been having a good day in other parts of the world too, as it secured a client win Belgian operator Telenet. The deal signed between the two parties will see ZTE provide a full network modernisation strategy for Telenet, including the replacement of 2G basestations and indoor/outdoor optimisation for its 3G, 4G and 4G+ coverage across the country. The upgrade comes after Telenet’s €1.3 billion acquisition of BASE from KPN last year, and it’s plugging €250 million into the transformation of its mobile network. Looks like ZTE will be getting a fair chunk of that.

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