SHENZHEN – Huawei on Monday highlighted the capabilities of 4.5G, also known as LTE-Advanced Pro, as a significant stepping stone between today’s 4G LTE networks and the 5G networks of the future.
According to Huawei’s William Wang, 4.5G offers operators the chance to rapidly provide a better user experience as they continue to work toward the launch of 5G in 2020.
Wang said 4.5G tests have demonstrated speeds of up to 1 gbps, which will help accommodate the rise of higher bandwidth features like 4K video, smartphone virtual reality and, eventually, 3D virtual reality.
Already, Wang said 20 commercial and trial 4.5G networks have been constructed and said more than 60 commercial 4.5G roll outs are expected by the end of 2016.
The 4.5G technology was recently launched by Turkey’s three major carriers, Wang said, and drew 6 million subscribers within a week of launch. Wang said this shows how 4.5G can “stimulate consumption” from end users.
To make a simple bandwidth transition to 4.5G, Wang said telecommunications companies only need to invest in hardware and software upgrades. To serve other domains, like the Internet of Things, Wang said other changes would need to be made.
Wang said the results of a 4.5G roll out depend on the frequency of spectrum used. According to Wang, higher frequency bands are preferable for increased bandwidth. For lower frequency bands, like 900 MHz, only about 10 mbps bandwidth can be achieved.
Wang said 4.5G will be backwards compatible with 5G services.
While 4.5G can be deployed today, Wang said the handset market needs to catch up so customers can fully take advantage of the technology. But there is some progress. Wang said LG and Samsung have both sent 600 mbps capable devices – the G5 and Galaxy S7, respectively – to the market already and predicted a 1 gbps-capable device will hit the market by next year.