China Mobile commercializing 3D-MIMO, ZTE Pre5G maximizing network potential

11 May 2017, Shenzhen, China – ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, today announced with China Mobile, China Mobile Zhejiang and the China Mobile Jiaxing Branch the completion of the commercial deployment and multi-scenario test verification of 3D multiple input multiple output (3D-MIMO), namely Pre5G Massive MIMO, in Jiaxing. China Mobile and ZTE jointly completed the world's first 3D-MIMO field verification in 2015. In order to further release 4G network potential and enhance user experience, China Mobile and ZTE have deployed, since December 2016, a new generation of broadband 3D-MIMO base stations in Jiaxing and conducted verification tests in various scenarios, such as large-traffic scenarios in universities or 3D in-depth coverage in high-rise residential buildings, therefore achieving a significant level of performance.

Universities are one of the key high-traffic and high-interference scenarios tested by China Mobile. A university located in the west of Jiaxing City has nearly ten thousand staff, as well as buildings for classes, canteens, dormitories and families. This densely-populated university comes under the high-traffic cell sites, posing high requirements for single-user traffic. With the increase in 4G users and increasing single-user data traffic brought by various services, it is difficult for the existing 4G networks to fully meet the needs of users during busy hours, and potential business needs cannot be fully catered for without poor user experience.

3D-MIMO is the optimal solution to this problem. With innovative use of 5G Massive MIMO technology in 4G networks, this solution gives full play to the existing spectrum potential, substantially enhancing 4G network speed and capacity as well as the use of the existing network spectrum. By increasing the downlink capacity 3–5 times and uplink capacity 4–6 times, this solution provides 4G users with 5G-like access experience on long-term evolution user equipment (LTE UE).

Enhancing the cell throughput to protect user experience perception

After the 3D-MIMO site was commissioned in Jiaxing, the cell throughput in busy hours has increased substantially and, consequently, improved the user experience. With the three carriers on the 3D-MIMO site, the downlink field rate reached 1Gbps, which is 3 times that of macro base stations (BS), and the uplink performance has significantly increased, with a peak rate of 237 Mbps, which is 8 times that of macro BS. By sharing the traffic of super-busy cells, the 3D-MIMO site reduces the resource occupancy of 8T macro-station cells and improves the service throughput in the coverage area.

Releasing potential business needs to improve economic benefits of the network

Test results of the Jiaxing 3D-MIMO site showed that, compared to co-frequency 8T macro stations with the same coverage, the uplink and downlink spectrum efficiency of small-packet services (such as web page browsing and WeChat) is increased by 2–3 times on average, and the spectrum efficiency of large-packet services (for example file download) is even higher. Up to 800 commercial users were in the cell during the test, indicating that user perception can still be guaranteed even in large capacity case scenarios. By using the 3D beamforming technology and targeting users accurately, the 3D-MIMO base station also effectively suppresses interference, enhances the perception of users on cell edges, allows commercial users to stay online, and increases user traffic in the coverage area, thereby enhancing the economic benefits of the network.

Vertical 3D coverage to enhance the coverage depth in high-rise buildings

The results of previously completed verification in high-rise scenarios shows that, compared with 8T macro stations on the same site, the 3D-MIMO base station provides vertical large-angle 3D coverage, with both the uplink and downlink rate gains of indoor weak and remote coverage points reaching 2–3 times. For the weak points in the cell edge, the gains are even greater. This indicates the outstanding in-depth coverage performance of 3D-MIMO, which is suitable for vertical coverage of high-rise buildings.

Since 2015, China Mobile and ZTE have been investing in innovation and verification of the 3D-MIMO technology. In 2016, 3D-MIMO pre-commercial verification was conducted in 29 provinces and 50 cities. Both China Mobile and ZTE are continuously developing and innovating 3D-MIMO technology. Today, the new-generation of 3D-MIMO products,  with even smaller size and lighter weight, support multi-band, multi-carrier and wide-bandwidth, and can be seamlessly integrated with existing networks. In the future, China Mobile and ZTE will continuously work together to promote the innovation of 5G technologies and tap the potential of 4G networks, to provide the best experience and provide further development in the large traffic and big video era. 

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