While U.S. wireless carrier Sprint has continued to hammer home the importance of its 2.5 GHz spectrum, its parent company SoftBank is jumping a bit higher up the spectrum for its next 5G trial.
According to a Friday press release, SoftBank has teamed up with Ericsson to conduct a new 28 GHz 5G trial in Tokyo.
SoftBank indicated the upcoming trial will utilize Ericsson’s 28 GHz 5G Test Bed solution, including base stations and device prototypes. The trial will also reportedly feature “advanced” 5G technologies such as massive MIMO, massive beamforming, distributed MIMO, multi-user MIMO, and beam tracking to help deliver multi-gigabit data rates and ultra-low latency. The coming 5G trial will be conducted both in indoor and outdoor environments across both device mobility and stationary tests, the carrier said.
“Since we announced that we would start the joint 5G trial with SoftBank in Tokyo in 2015, we have together achieved several significant milestones to date. I am confident that we will be the first to deliver 5G services and that we will deliver the best performing end to end network in Japan,” Head of Ericsson Japan Mikael Eriksson commented.
SoftBank indeed indicated this latest trial will build on previous 5G tests conducted alongside Ericsson. Those tests, started back in August 2016, were conducted using base stations and user equipment with signal control feedback on 4.5 GHz spectrum. The companies also reportedly worked on successful 5G trials at 15 GHz last year as well in Tokyo.
“SoftBank started to verify 4.5 GHz radio back in August 2016 and now 4.5 GHz is becoming the leading candidate band for 5G services in Japan together with 28 GHz,” Hideyuki Tsukuda, SVP of SoftBank, added. “We are leveraging Ericsson’s Test Bed with 28 GHz radio to validate a lot of advanced features at super low-latency and high throughput, which helps position us as a pioneer of 5G.”
While SoftBank’s stateside child Sprint has focused more on 2.5 GHz as the new low band spectrum for 5G, it’s feasible that whatever fruit comes from SoftBank’s trials could trickle down to the U.S. carrier.
But at MWC Sprint also conducted a demo with Nokia showcasing massive MIMO. At the same event, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son touted SoftBank’s deployment of massive MIMO in Japan and said the same is on the way for Sprint in the United States.
So it’s all worth keeping an eye on.