Faroese Telecom and Ericsson claim 5G mmWave downlink speed record

Faroese Telecom and Ericsson

Faroe Islands incumbent Faroese Telecom and kit vendor Ericsson clocked download peak speeds of 5.9Gbps using 5G mmWave spectrum, which they say is the fastest measured speed in a live network in Europe to date.

The firms claim the 5G mmWave speed test represented ‘the fastest measured speed in a live network in Europe to date’. It was carried out ahead of a planned mmWave deployment across all of the 18 Faroe Islands.

In terms of the nitty gritty tech, the test was carried out over the Faroese Telecom commercial mobile network in an indoor deployment using Ericsson’s AIR 5322 and Baseband 6648. A downlink speed of 5.9Gbps was clocked by aggregating 800MHz of 5G mmWave spectrum in n258 and 40 MHz of 4G FDD (frequency division duplex). An upload speed of 1.6Gbps was registered by aggregating several carriers in the uplink, we’re told.

“Our ambition is to have giga speed everywhere on the islands – in cities as well as in small villages, on roads, in tunnels, on mountaintops and even out to sea,” said Jan Ziskasen, CEO of Faroese Telecom Group. “Digital inclusion is a main pillar in our sustainability agenda thus reaching every centimeter and every person located on our 18 islands is paramount. This will bring unprecedented services to our consumers and businesses where world-class 5G gives key infrastructure for developing products and services paving the way for the future.”

Niclas Backlund, Country Manager of Ericsson Denmark added: “Faroese Telecom is showing the world how 5G can be deployed on a wide scale during a limited period of time. Rocky volcanic islands and rapidly changing weather is not stopping either them or us from bringing the latest 5G technology to the North Atlantic Sea. I am truly looking forward to continuing to partner with Faroese Telecom with the ambition of building a world class 5G network, with more industry firsts.”

Along with Standalone (SA) 5G,  5G mmWave is pitched as a technology that can help deliver the vision set out by the industry when the 5G marketing machine was first spun up. It uses frequency bands of 26GHz and beyond, the benefit being that it provides a ‘bigger pipe’ because there is more available spectrum.

Advocates, such as Qualcomm, point to lower energy consumption and the ability to keep connections functioning even in very congested areas as benefits. On the downside, range and propagation values deteriorate at the end of the spectrum it uses.

Earlier this month UK comms regulator Ofcom announced it was going to make 6 GHz of mmWave spectrum available to UK telcos. The process, which began in May last year, seems to have been well bandaged in red tape and there is an ongoing consultation on how best to proceed with an auction. Depending on how much they decide operators would have to pay for the relevant spectrum, the larger barrier to rolling out 5G mmWave applications en mass could end up being financial rather than technical – with operators famously not currently feeling flush.


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