Ericsson brings Massive MIMO via FDD to 5G platform

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Ericsson has unveiled a Massive MIMO frequency division duplex friendly radio to complement its 5G platform.

The AIR 3246 supports LTE and 5G New Radio capabilities and is the first to support FDD. Ericsson said this feature would help operators to bring 5G services to consumers in urban areas while using mid-band spectrum.

The vendor's 5G platform, which was announced in February, already offers three time division duplex radios that can support Massive MIMO, as well as core, transport, digital support and security.

Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, said: “The new radio will enable operators to enhance 4G capacity for their subscribers today and be ready for 5G tomorrow, using the same hardware. We also complement the products with a set of network services, simplifying the journey to 5G for our customers.”

The vendor is currently trialling Massive MIMO on FDD radios with T-Mobile US across three sites in Baltimore. Ericsson said the trial marks the first time Massive

MIMO is carrying commercial LTE traffic across mid-band FDD.

[Read more: Ericsson to trial 5G with SoftBank and AT&T, Huawei hits Massive MIMO milestone on LTE]

The vendor added that combining these technologies can increase network capacity by up to three times and throughput to a factor of five.

Stefan Pongratz, Senior Director at the Dell’Oro Group, said: "Just as carrier aggregation has been key to adding needed capacity to mobile broadband networks, Massive MIMO has the potential to be the primary capacity enabler in the next upgrade phase, providing a smooth transition towards 5G.

"With an expected 2021 installed base of 10 million LTE macro radios in high traffic and metro areas, service providers are expected to capitalize on the improved spectral efficiency made possible with Massive MIMO."

The new radio will be launched in the second quarter of next year.