Singtel and Ericsson hit 4G gigabit speeds with LAA

Using 12-layer LAA, 4x4 MIMO, and 256 QAM technologies, Ericsson has attained 1.1Gbps speeds on Singtel's LTE network during a lab trial, the companies announced.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Singapore's largest mobile telecommunications company Singtel has announced attaining 1.1Gbps speeds on its 4G LTE network during a trial of licensed-assisted access (LAA) technology with Ericsson.

The test, which took place in Singtel's lab, utilised 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO) and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Moderation (256 QAM) technology, and Ericsson's Radio 2203 and Radio 2205 devices.

Four layers with 4x4 MIMO on licensed spectrum were used in combination with two layers on a second licensed band, and 2x three layers of LAA with unlicensed spectrum.

Ericsson used a Cobham TM500 test device for the lab trials.

Singtel CTO Mark Chong said the telco is now positioned to deploy LAA technology to boost capacity and speeds for indoor mobile traffic, such as in shopping malls. The companies said they are now examining "the feasibility to deploy the technology on Singtel's network".

The two companies have been live trialling LAA 4G since July 2016, at the time saying it would be rolled out over the next two years, beginning in the first half of 2017.

Ericsson began upgrading Singtel's 4G networks over a year ago, in January launching 450Mbps speeds across the entire mobile network using 256 QAM.

At the time, the companies also attained speeds of up to 1Gbps in a trial of LTE-Advanced technology using 256 QAM downlink combined with 4x4 MIMO and triple carrier aggregation.

Singtel in August then unveiled its 64 Massive MIMO antennas with beamforming technology in partnership with Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE. It used its new 2.5GHz spectrum band holdings for the Massive MIMO deployment, after picking up 3x 5MHz for SG$563.7 million in April.

Ericsson and Singtel have also been working on a "blueprint" for 5G deployment across Singapore since January 2015, with the companies in October this year announcing they would invest SG$2 million in establishing a 5G development facility.

US mobile carrier T-Mobile is also relying on Ericsson to roll out 12-layer LAA technology on its LTE network, last week achieving speeds of 1.1Gbps using Ericsson's Radio 2205 system, Cobham Wireless TM500 network test equipment, and T-Mobile's lab in Bellevue, Washington, for the trials, which aggregated two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers.

According to Ericsson, gigabit LTE networks have been commercially deployed by 14 providers worldwide -- including the network launched at the start of this year by Telstra and Ericsson in Australia -- while 212 4G networks have been upgraded to LTE-A.

Ericsson last month predicted that 5G would reach 20 percent of the global population as of 2023, with 1 billion subscriptions to be held by then.

The networking giant earlier on Monday announced being chosen to roll out Verizon's commercial 5G networks next year, providing pre-standardised 3GPP technology "in select markets".

After announcing an accelerated 5G launch in October, Verizon and Ericsson will begin deploying the networks in the second half of 2018 using Ericsson's 5G core network, 5G radio access network (RAN), transport services, and associated solutions.

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