Vodafone checks out 70GHz in 5G field trial

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Vodafone Group has become the latest operator to demonstrate 5G capabilities, using MIMO technology to enable maximum single user speeds of 20GBps.

The operator worked with Huawei on the field test at its Newbury Campus. It used a trial radio system operating at 70GHz. Multiple users were able to receive data rates of 10GBps each.

David Lister, 5G Research Manager at Vodafone Group said it wanted to explore the potential of frequency bands above 24GHz, where the largest amount of bandwidth can be used to hit high speeds.

However, he noted that the radio signal at this frequency has issues with penetrating obstructions. The radio beams need to be steered in order to track the moving target.

Commenting on the 70Ghz trial, he said: "This means that using the technology it’s possible to deliver an extremely high level of performance for an individual link, such as backhauling data between two locations, or supporting a large number of connections in small areas such as stadia or train stations.

"These tests contribute to the ongoing research into spectrum above 24 GHz for 5G enhanced mobile broadband. They will also contribute to research activities that will lead to 5G spectrum harmonisation at the next World Radio Congress in 2019."

Johan Wibergh, Vodafone’s Group Chief Technology Officer, added: “This field test in an outdoor environment is a significant step forward in validating the performance of 5G in high frequency bands. It has improved our understanding of the capabilities and opportunities that the technology offers.”

Eric Xu, Rotating CEO of Huawei, said: “5G will introduce full spectrum access to support AR, VR, Smart Automobile and other unknown new services. The joint trial of 5G mmWave connectivity in a real world radio propagation environment and co-existence of different radio links is encouraging.”