China Unicom MIMO Test"The commercial deployment of FDD - Frequency Domain - Massive MIMO is expected in 2017, including at China Telecom." (All the MM deployed today is TDD - Time Division.) That comment by ZTE is based on tests with China Telecom and China Unicom, both world class telcos. Huawei and ZTE are both shipping TDD gear. ZTE is a top-5 telecom manufacturer. Huawei has grown so much their sales totals and research budget are now more than Ericsson and Nokia combined.

Backing like this is highly credible. The joint press releases are below. I'm always skeptical until I have results from substantial field deployments, but wouldn't have doubted this except for work by Emil Bjornson, Erik Larsson, and Tom Marzetta. Marzetta invented Massive MIMO; Larsson & Bjornson are respected Swedish Professors. 

More than half the spectrum in use is FDD - Frequency Division. Massive MIMO systems in the field today use TDD - Time Division.

That's fine for China Mobile, SoftBank, and Sprint. They have TDD spectrum. But most carriers - China Telecom, Chine Unicom, Verizon, AT&T and many Europeans, have more spectrum specified as FDD.

Marzetta and co-authors consider both in Fundamentals of Massive MIMO, the new book that is the primary reference.  Based on the data then available. TDD is generally more efficient. FDD has more overhead in most, but not all, circumstances. 

MM requires a constant stream from all the receivers of Customer State Information (CSI.) The transmitter needs to know where all the receivers are and their current capabilities. BLM provide an example where signaling in FDD takes 50% of the capacity - according to a model. TDD requires only 12.5%.

When top engineers disagree I'm certainly not qualified to judge until we have field data.

ZTE Releases World’s First Pre5G FDD Massive MIMO Solution, Verified by Joint Field Tests with China Unicom

30 December 2016, Shenzhen, China– ZTE Corporation officially released the world’s first FDD-LTE Massive MIMO solution today, following successful verification through joint field tests in Quanzhou Innovation Centre of China Unicom Fujian Branch. This FDD-LTE Massive MIMO solution, a result of ZTE’s ceaseless efforts in Pre5G TDD Massive MIMO and innovation, successfully introduces Massive MIMO to FDD-LTE networks, making it applicable to over 85% of global LTE networks. This Pre5G solution enhances the commercial value of Massive MIMO and enables operators to multiply their network capacity using their current spectrum resources.

The field tests have verified that the Pre5G FDD Massive MIMO solution is capable of enhancing the cell throughput by over three times using current spectrum. ZTE has already introduced Massive MIMO, one of the key 5G network technologies, to 4G networks to function as the core technology of its Pre5G solution. As a benchmark in ZTE’s Pre5G solutions, the FDD Massive MIMO solution is compatible with the existing terminals, which benefits operators greatly in their marketing progress by accelerating network speeds using existing spectrum. Users can enjoy the ultrafast broadband service without changing their terminals.

ZTE took the lead in releasing TDD Massive MIMO products in as early as 2014. At MWC 2016, ZTE Massive MIMO won two awards – “2016 MWC Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough” and “Outstanding overall Mobile Technology – The CTO’s Choice”. The FDD Massive MIMO has built on the advantages seen in TDD and made breakthroughs in FDD to achieve high-efficiency space division. Compared with other measures to enhance the network capacity and user experience, the FDD Massive MIMO, which does not place extra requirements for operator’s spectrum resources and is independent of terminal capability, is a more powerful engine to accelerate the new-generation network speed.

At the moment, ZTE is under negotiation with several important domestic and overseas operators regarding the cooperation in FDD Massive MIMO. The commercial deployment of FDD Massive MIMO is expected in 2017.

ZTE and China Telecom Complete Pre5G FDD Massive MIMO Testing

3 January 2017, Shenzhen, China – ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, announced the company successfully completed joint-testing of its proprietary Pre5G FDD Massive MIMO solution, in partnership with China Telecom Innovation Center.

The results of the joint test showed ZTE’s Pre5G FDD Massive MIMO solution enhanced cell throughput by more than three times using existing frequency spectrum and 4G LTE devices. Based on the successful test, ZTE demonstrated the capabilities of its innovative Pre5G FDD Massive MIMO solution to help operators offer ultrafast mobile broadband services on existing FDD-LTE infrastructure, without requiring users to change their mobile devices and terminals.

ZTE is taking its industry leadership in the development of Pre5G Massive MIMO technology on TDD-LTE networks one step further by deploying Massive MIMO technology successfully on FDD-LTE networks in the joint-test with China Telecom. This will generate increased opportunities for ZTE’s Pre5G technology as more than 85% of 4G LTE networks globally are based on the FDD-LTE standards. Massive MIMO is a critical technology in the evolution of 4G networks towards next-generation 5G networks.

China Telecom Innovation Center is committed to developing and promoting the advanced technologies which are future-oriented, prospective and have significant impact on information industry. The successful joint test on Pre5G FDD Massive MIMO will further deepen China Telecom’s collaboration with ZTE, and the FDD Massive MIMO solution is predictable to be deployed in China Telecom in 2017.


Huawei and China Unicom jointly complete world's first FDD Massive MIMO field verification


[Shanghai, China, Jan 13, 2017] Huawei, together with China Unicom Group, completed field verification of the industry's first FDD-based Massive MIMO technology, using the existing two-antenna receiving terminal on the 20MHz spectrum to achieve a peak network rate of 697.3Mbps, 4.8 times that of traditional FDD LTE. The successful verification also demonstrated the innovation ability of both sides.

With the rapid development of mobile Internet applications, such as high-definition video and online games, MBB networks face a huge challenge in capacity. Massive MIMO can help operators greatly enhance wireless network capacity and user experience by maximizing existing sites and spectrum resources. Massive MIMO is the best technology to boost spectrum efficiency and is one of the key solutions for Huawei's 4.5G Evolution.

Massive MIMO solutions have three typical characteristics: AAU hardware form, 3D user-level beamforming, multi-user MIMO

1. AAU hardware form

The Massive MIMO solution requires large-scale antenna array elements and RF transceiver channels. If RF and antenna are separated, engineering feasibility and system reliability are both extremely challenging. AAU is an integrated active antenna solution from Huawei, which integrates RF and antenna elements to ensure the reliability of Massive MIMO solutions and greatly enhance the feasibility of the project.

2. 3D user-level beamforming

Massive MIMO uses a large array of antennas to provide precise control of beam width and angle in both vertical and horizontal directions, enabling 3D user-level beamforming, therefore improves network coverage and reduces overall network interference.

3. Multi-user MIMO

Based on accurate 3D user beamforming, accurate channel estimation and user algorithms, Massive MIMO allows multiple terminals to simultaneously reuse the same spectrum resources, therefore further enhancing network capacity.

The joint field test, based on 20MHz spectrum, using an FDD LTE commercial terminal, demonstrated that the average mobile phone rate grows up to 87Mbps, which can support users to watch 4K high-definition video smoothly. The test also verified the network peak up to 697.3Mbps, 4.8 times that of the traditional FDD LTE.

According to the 3GPP standard, Release 10 defines an eight port multi-antenna technology in TM9 mode, Release 13 defines a 16 port multi-antenna technology and Release 14 defines 32-port multi-antenna technology. With commercialization of the terminals supporting the above protocols, the spectral efficiency of Massive MIMO will be further enhanced in the future. Based on the existing FDD LTE Massive MIMO prototype, Huawei will continue to optimize its products and drive the FDD LTE Massive MIMO industry chain to mature.

Cao Ming, President of Huawei’s FDD Product Line said, “Our goal is to bring considerable commercial value to operators through innovative technology. This successful field verification between Huawei and China Unicom, once again demonstrated the innovative capability of Huawei’s 4.5G Evolution technology. Huawei's Massive MIMO product has the ability to evolve to 5G to protect the operator's investment in the coming 5G era.”

dave ask


CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum US#2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 6 days sold 300,000 5G Mate 20s. Delivery begins on 8/16. 

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed


Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.