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Ericsson goes MASSIVE on MIMO

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Ericsson has announced a couple of new partnerships with Entel and SmarTone, adding to the growing enthusiasm surround massive MIMO technologies.

Massive MIMO is proving to be a very popular talking point amongst the infrastructure giants in recent months, and the latest self-congratulations from Ericsson add to the growing euphoria surrounding the 5G hype.

Starting in Chile, Ericsson will be working with Entel to deploy LTE FDD network technologies and LTE TDD Massive MIMO solutions as part of the technology roadmap towards 5G. As part of the wider partnership, the pair will also work towards delivering a fully virtualized network service (VNS) for VoLTE, including virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS), virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC). The work will take place throughout 2018 and 2019.

“With mobile traffic volumes expected to increase exponentially through 2020 and beyond, operators around the world are bolstering their existing networks to deliver higher speeds and lower latency to their subscribers,” said Arun Bansal, Head of Market Area Europe and Latin America at Ericsson.

“We write a new chapter in the history of our strategic partnership with Entel by evolving their network to Gigabit LTE and paving the way to 5G and beyond, cementing their leadership position among operators in the Latin American region.”

Dashing over to Hong Kong, SmarTone is are trailing Ericsson’s FDD Massive MIMO solution, in its own efforts to make sense of 5G.

The trial is focusing on FDD Massive MIMO on 1800 MHz, which is claimed to be a first for Hong Kong, ahead of a live launch of Ericsson’s AIR 3246, a relatively new radio product for massive MIMO.

“We are working closely with SmarTone to develop, trial, and deploy key 5G technologies that will further enhance the user experience,” said Nishant Batra, Head of Product Area Network Infrastructure at Ericsson

“The recent LAA field trial, and now the trial of FDD Massive MIMO, enable us to jointly shape the next-generation network technology.”

Massive MIMO is one of those technologies which will facilitate the transition from 4G to 5G in the coming years, which is all well and good, but we are still to be 100% convinced whether 5G is necessary. Operators are currently focusing on demonstrating they can actually do 5G, but we are yet to see many which have put forward a genuine business case where they will recoup the massive investments which will need to be made.

Of course there are ideas which are bouncing around, autonomous cars or robotic surgery for instance, but these will not be a real-world realization for quite a while. Operators are seemingly getting caught up in the race for 5G, but will this rush come back to bite them. What will 5G enable in the next few years that can’t be delivered over hyper 4G networks which are promising gigabit speeds?

Maybe the industry will prove us wrong, perhaps we are being too pessimistic. We hope this is the case, but there aren’t many arguments to prove us wrong just yet.

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