Chinese telecommunications technology solutions provider ZTE has announced completing 5G New Radio (NR) field trials with China Unicom, attaining data rates of up to 2Gbps for single-user equipment.
ZTE made use of its pre-commercial sub-6GHz 5G base station at the 3.5GHz frequency with 100MHz bandwidth alongside Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology during the trial.
The tests were conducted in partnership with China Unicom's Guangdong branch, Network Construction department, and Network Technology Research Institute, with the Chinese carrier having founded a 5G lab in 2016 to explore 5G base station architecture and platforms in an effort to deploy pre-commercial 5G networks in 2019 ahead of a large-scale rollout in 2020.
ZTE had announced its plans to release 10Gbps-capable 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz base stations that are compliant with 3GPP and 5G NR standards and identified spectrum bands back in February.
The Chinese company also unveiled its FDD-LTE Massive MIMO solution, powered by its MSC2.0 vector processing chip, at the end of last year after trialling it with China Unicom and China Telecom.
Last week, ZTE also completed several major 5G scenario trials during phase two of China's national 5G tests, including network slicing, in an effort to test its chips and equipment ahead of commercialisation.
ZTE's enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) across sub-6GHz test attained a peak cell throughput of more than 19Gbps with 28 spatial division streams using a 3.5GHz pre-commercial 5G base station, while its eMBB millimetre-wave (mmWave) test saw a four-stream rate of more than 13Gbps.
Its latency tests achieved 0.416ms on a unified test platform using its own chipsets for eMBB, and a test of ZTE's massive machine-type communications achieved a rate of 90 million connections per MHz, per hour, per square kilometre.
ZTE then used network slicing to construct a unified network on sub-6GHz base stations to test the above applications of speed, latency, and massive machine communications, achieving a single-cell peak rate of 15Gbps.
Earlier this month, ZTE said it would double its R&D spend on 5G to reach 2 billion yuan (almost $300 million), and has around 2,000 employees currently working on 5G R&D.
It is also working on 5G in Japan, last month announcing a partnership with Japanese carrier SoftBank to trial 5G over sub-6GHz spectrum at 4.5GHz across Tokyo.
ZTE and SoftBank have been collaborating on pre-5G technology R&D including Massive MIMO technology, with the partnership last month expanding to include 5G NR.
ZTE has also announced the global release of its Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) Intelligent Energy Management System, which is intended to allow enterprises to reduce emissions and save energy through the remote management of assets.
"For technology enterprises, laboratory equipment accounts for a high percentage of electricity consumption to ... ensure efficient operations. However, equipment often remains idle outside of office hours. With ZTE's NB-IoT Intelligent Energy Management System, enterprises can leverage its energy-saving control function to effectively reduce energy consumption during research and production," ZTE explained.
"With the use of NB-IoT technologies, this system comes with lower investment costs and higher rate of returns ... a built-in chip module developed by ZTE also makes remote control and strategy customisation feasible."
The system has been piloted in Zhangjiang Intelligent Park, with ZTE saying that at an average of 50 auto-shutdown and remotely managed control terminals being installed in a typical wireless base station test environment, around 50,000 kilowatts of energy can be saved per month.