Nokia and Sprint Demonstrate Massive MIMO at MWC17

At the Mobile World Congress 2017Nokia and Sprint demonstrated the benefits of massive MIMO, by showcasing how the technology can boost cell capacity by eight times compared to 4G LTE. The joint demonstration makes Sprint the first U.S. operator to demonstrate massive MIMO for TDD-LTE spectrum with 64T64R, for both the downlink and uplink on an existing LTE frequency bands. Massive MIMO, a key element of 5G, can enable LTE network performance well beyond 1 Gbps.

Nokia's newly launched AirScale massive MIMO Adaptive Antenna is part of the company's 4.9G technology, which provides significant increases in capacity, lower latency and several Gigabits of speed-per-second on the path to 5G. The AirScale massive MIMO Adaptive Antenna is a milestone, driving capacity increases for megacity deployments and service continuity with 5G. The demonstration used 3D Beamforming software to deliver throughput gains of up to eightfold for the uplink and fivefold for the downlink. Eight commercially available devices operating on Sprint's 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE band 41 spectrums were also used for this demonstration.

Massive MIMO takes MIMO technology and scales it up, using 64T64R as compared to 2T2R/4T4R/8T8R in a typical 4G LTE network, but in a relatively compact commercial form. These antennas, attached to a base station, focus the transmission and reception of signal energy into small regions of space. This provides new levels of spectral efficiency and throughput, and allows data consumption from more users in a dense area without requiring more radio spectrum or causing interference. As such, massive MIMO is one of the key elements of 5G that delivers the needed high capacity, especially in the most densely populated locations such as city centers and high-rise buildings.

Working with Nokia to deliver massive MIMO will be a competitive advantage for Sprint as it is more easily deployed on 2.5 GHz spectrum due to the smaller form factor of the radios, and is an important innovation that will take advantage of Sprint’s deep spectrum holdings.