Vodafone turns on FDD Massive MIMO trial in Parramatta

Telco inching towards Massive MIMO deployment later this year.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Vodafone Australia has switched on the first of five trial sites for its Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (Massive MIMO) technology in Parramatta, New South Wales, which should boost network quality and speeds.

The site at Parramatta will be followed by other sites in Sydney at Haymarket and Chinatown.

"Vodafone is well on the way to be 5G-ready once compatible spectrum becomes available, with the rollout of our fibre transmission network nearing completion and the on-going project to virtualise our core network," Vodafone CTO Kevin Millroy said in a statement.

The company is slated to increasingly deploy Massive MIMO throughout the year.

"The sites selected for the 4.9G trial are in high-density, high usage areas where we can really exercise the benefits we saw during the field demonstration," Millroy added.

In September, Vodafone demonstrated Massive MIMO with Huawei kit, hitting speeds of up to 717Mbps on its live 4G network.

At the time, Vodafone's GM of Technology Strategy Easwaren Siva told ZDNet the telco used 20MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum band with Huawei's 32T32R Active Antenna Unit to increase network capacity fourfold.

"When we say Massive MIMO, we actually refer to there being multiple transmit and receive radio units in the antenna system. The antenna system is ... a 32-transmit 32-receive system, and hence forming basically multiple beams using the same frequency from one antenna system, and that's where the improvement in capacity comes from," he said.

"In this demonstration, we had basically eight devices being served by eight different beams."

In Febraury, Vodafone Australia reported a 3 percent increase in revenue to AU$3.5 billion, while expenses increased by 1 percent to AU$3.64 billion, resulting in a pre-tax loss of AU$177 million, a 26 percent decrease on the year prior.

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