SFR gets in on the Huawei MIMO party

Huawei and SFR have jointly announced they have completed France’s first pre-commercial field verification of 4X4 MIMO achieving a downlink throughput of 628.31 Mbps.

The 4X4 MIMO technology itself has been earmarked as the next step towards 4.5G and one of the building blocks of the 5G revolution. SFR has said it began construction of its LTE network in 2012, while its mobile data traffic has seen an average annual growth rate of as much as 100% over the past two years. In light of these trends, SFR has set out its ambitions to ensure 4.5G network coverage to 90% of its customers by the end of 2017, and further lift this figure to 99% by 2018.

“SFR’s goal is to build the best and fastest 4.5G network in France,” said Michel Paulin, CEO of SFR Group. “This will both improve our customers’ lives with the best available telecommunications service, and also pave the way for the future, since a successful transition to 5G will depend first on 4.5G successes.

“Today, SFR’s 4.5G network has achieved an average downlink throughput of 300 Mbps in over 221 cities. A 10-GB video can be downloaded within 4 minutes and 30 seconds. We will further increase the average downlink throughput to 500 Mbps by 2018. Moreover, SFR will actively promote the most sophisticated 4×4 MIMO smartphones to offer users the best LTE experience.”

Aside from capitalizing on the thirst for speed which is appearing in the consumer ranks, the team are also using 4×4 MIMO to capture the imagination of enterprise customers as well.

It’s a smart angle from SFR, and while it might seem obvious, few brands have played on the idea. With the introduction of 5G, new business models will begin to appear. With something new, especially in larger organizations, comes an element of nervousness. The ability to test out the new business model or approach to offering services on 4.5G is a clever twist to add to marketing campaigns. It’s stating the obvious, but playing on the insecurities of those organizations who can’t afford to get things wrong is a good move.

MIMO, whether it would be small, medium, large or massive, is fast becoming the technology which everyone wants to talk about. Huawei also announced a 4×4 MIMO deal win with Claro Brazil today to cover Brasilia. Like other buzzwords such as containers or Devops, the euphoria will die down before too long as it becomes an everyday aspect of life. But that shouldn’t take away from the incremental steps which are being tread.

5G is starting to look a little bit more real every day.

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