BT and Ericsson have successfully demonstrated 5G transmission using a wideband FDD (frequency division duplex) radio carrier (over 20 MHz) within a sub-3 GHz spectrum band. According to BT and Ericsson, this accomplishment is a major advancement in the progress of 5G networks, with implications that will greatly impact network capacity and performance.. The trial used existing Ericsson commercial hardware, including Baseband 6648 and Radio 4419. The software feature ‘Large Bandwidth Support Low-Band’ was activated to facilitate the testing, and Handsets powered by MediaTek Dimensity chips, specifically the MediaTek M80 Release-16 modem.
Source: BT Group
The trial was conducted on BT’s live network (EE brand name) in Bristol and Potters Bar, UK. It showcased the benefits of configuring a wide carrier bandwidth of 50 MHz (50 MHz downlink + 50 MHz uplink) within the 2.6 GHz band, along with downlink aggregation using two TDD (time division duplex) carriers in the 3.5 GHz band. This configuration led to a capacity uplift of over three times compared to a single FDD carrier. According to the joint statement, the trial also evaluated an intermediate carrier bandwidth of 30 MHz.
This result is particularly significant for the uplink in 5G Standalone (5G SA) networks. According to BT, currently, 5G SA relies on a single carrier for the uplink, but this trial demonstrates the potential to significantly boost uplink capacity using a wider carrier bandwidth. The technology partners stated that enabling 5G expansion in FDD bands is a crucial step in the rollout of EE’s 5G SA network. 5G SA is expected to offer superior experiences for consumers and businesses, meeting the increasing demand for data-driven applications like cloud gaming, virtual reality (VR), and emerging edge technologies. This achievement has the potential to enable higher capacity, improved network performance, and enhanced user experiences.
Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer, BT Group, commented: “This breakthrough is the latest example of our commitment to maximizing the full potential of 5G for our customers. As network quality and accessibility improve, so too will innovation and the 5G services ecosystem. Demonstrating new network capabilities such as those announced today is critical to achieving this goal, and also paves the way to ensuring that 5G SA delivers new possibilities for our customers.”
Evangelia Tzifa, Chief Technology Officer, Networks & Managed Services, for Ericsson UK and Ireland said: “This is a great step forward for the deployment of 5G Standalone for EE in the UK. Ericsson innovative software capabilities such as large bandwidths for NR FDD as well as NR Carrier Aggregation enable a solid foundation for improved end user experience and network performance. This is a fundamental link for business success and the evolution to next-generation connectivity across the country.”
Dr. Ho-Chi Hwang, General Manager of Wireless Communication Systems and Partnerships at MediaTek, said: “This remarkable achievement of boosting uplink capacity is a fundamental step for the evolution from 5G Non-Standalone to 5G Standalone networks. By supporting an uplink connection in a single FDD carrier with a wider bandwidth, MediaTek Dimensity 5G chipsets already meet the surging demand for uplink data in a new era of mobile applications”.