US telecoms giant Sprint has carried out trials of massive multiple-input, multiple-output (Massive MIMO) technology over spectrum in the 2.5GHz band in conjunction with Samsung Electronics America. In a press release detailing the development, it was revealed that the tests had taken place in Suwon, South Korea, with Massive MIMO Samsung radios equipped with vertical and horizontal beam-forming technology achieving peak downlink speeds of 330Mbps per channel using a 20MHz block in the 2.5GHz band.
With Sprint having deployed 8T8R (8 transmit, 8 receive) radios across its US network, the purpose of the test was to compare the performance of Massive MIMO radios with the former technology. Sprint, in collaboration with Samsung, reportedly wrote the test cases and requirements, which included a variety of performance scenarios involving multi-user and non-stationary testing. For its part, Samsung provided the Massive MIMO network infrastructure as well as test network design, operation, data collection and processing. Both companies will use the results of the trial to assist in preparing for commercial Massive MIMO deployments in both the US and other markets.
Commenting on the matter, Sprint’s Chief Operating Officer – Technology, Gunther Ottendorfer, said: ‘The testing in South Korea is an important step towards deploying Massive MIMO in our US network where it will be a key element of LTE Plus as well as 5G … Massive MIMO is a tremendous differentiator for Sprint because it is easily deployed on 2.5GHz spectrum due to the small form factor of the radios needed for a high frequency band. In lower frequency bands, wavelengths are much longer and therefore the radios require much larger, impractical form factors. This makes Massive MIMO an important tool for unleashing our deep 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings.’