Massive MIMO Map Feb 2018 450

Dark blue: Building actively: China Mobile, Softbank Japan, Bharti India, Jio India, Vodafone India, Singtel, Globe Phillippines, Sprint USA

Medium: Announced: DT, FT/Orange, BT, Qatar, Verizon USA, T-Mobile Netherlands, Telekom South Africa  

Light blue: Talking: Vodafone England, Vodafone Turkey,
Safaricom Kenya, 

zte pre5GChina Mobile, ZTE & Huawei are seeking to lead the 5G/4G future. MIMO work was initially led by U.S. researchers. Stanford's Paulraj won the Marconi Prize for inventing it. Gerry Foschini and Tom Marzetta of Bell Labs did crucial work. Most of the first thousand papers came from the U.S. and Western Europe. Lucent was the world leader in most areas of telecom. The U.S. telcos had massive research centers.

Today, those three remain active and others like Ted Rappaport, Andrea Goldsmith and Robert Heath are prominent at important universities. But the industry has changed. Huawei is now the world's largest telecom company and has committed $600M to 5G research. ZTE is now in the top five. The EU has promised a billion for 5G research, much of which will come to market through Ericsson and Nokia.

China Mobile & ZTE claimed their 64-port/128 antenna 3D/Massive MIMO base station is "The World's First Pre5G Massive MIMO Base Station." They've extensively tested it, although haven't promised commercial units. CM and ZTE haven't released the results of this testing.

In last November's announcement, they didn't provide many results. In January, they spoke of 4-6 times better performance. They didn't explain the comparison.

In perfect circumstances, a unit like this could easily achieve 10 gigabits total throughput. These certainly were not "perfect circumstances." Among other things, you'd probably need an array of supercomputers to calculate everything. ZTE is working on dedicated chips, which Henry Samueli of Broadcom believe will be the solution. (Samueli is also working on 50+ antenna systems.)

Verizon and Nokia are now moving to field tests on Massive MIMO, a technology not expected until 2020 with the full 5G. Results in a semisecret stadium test were exceptional. (Faultline, paywall.)

ZTE's work and others now have some hoping to 2017 or so with a 3-10x wireless performance improvement. 

ZTE and China Mobile Complete Test of World’s First Pre5G Massive MIMO Base Station


ZTE demonstrated superior performance of new 64-port/128 antenna Massive MIMO

18 November 2014, Shenzhen, China – ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment, network solutions and mobile devices, announced that the company successfully completed pre-commercial field testing of the world’s first pre5G 3D/Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) base stations in partnership with China Mobile, accelerating the deployment of this next-generation technology.

Using ZTE’s latest 64-port/128 antenna 3D/Massive MIMO base station, with a much higher PDSCH beam forming gain, the test shows an excellent coverage enhancement for tall building, with improvement for indoor reception. This further demonstrated the superiority of the new technology over existing intelligent antennas in complicated multi-path urban and indoor areas, as well as open rural areas.

The new ZTE solution is enabled by the company’s high-performance vector processor SOC chipset, and brings 3D/Massive MIMO, a key technology for 5G, closer to commercial reality.

The CTO of ZTE’s Wireless Division, Dr. Xiang Jiying, said that, “As the number of antennas is ten times more, 3D/Massive MIMO had appeared to be a distant pipe-dream. However, the test indicates that we are taking a big step forward to realize the new technology using 4G handsets. This is a result of a number of innovations, and is in line with the pre5G concept previously proposed by ZTE. We will continue to deliver Pre5G features to offer 5G-like experience before 5G standardization.”

The vice president of China Mobile Research Institute, Huang Yuhong, said that, “ The pre-commercial field test of ZTE 3D/Massive MIMO was impressive and exceeded our expectations. This will definitely accelerate the pace of qualification and commercial deployment, and reinforce the advantages of TDD technology. China Mobile will continue to strengthen our partnership with ZTE in the development of 3D/Massive MIMO and other 5G technologies.”

Dr. Liu Guangyi from China Mobile Research Institute, who participated in the test, said, “This test enhances our confidence in advancing 3D/Massive MIMO ahead of the expected schedule. In addition, after the test, we also uncovered some new scenarios for 3D/Massive MIMO.”

3D/Massive MIMO, using the multi-antenna technology, improves wireless spectrum efficiency exponentially, increases network coverage and system capacity, and helps telecom operators maximize the use of existing site locations and spectrum resources. According to the simulation, the throughput can be 4-6 times higher. ZTE attaches high importance to the research and development of 5G products, and has achieved breakthrough developments in a series of key technologies. In particular, ZTE has achieved excellent performance in backward compatibility with 4G, forward service of 5G, product commercial capability, antenna design, engineering convenience, and system performance. 3D/Massive MIMO not only supports China Mobile’s mainstream 4G frequency bands, but is also compatible with existing commercial terminals.

As a leading provider of 4G in the industry, ZTE has been dedicated to innovations, making continuous efforts on 5G research, and preparing for commercial 5G products. The successful commercial test of 3D/Massive MIMO again presents ZTE’s rich accumulations in research of key 5G technologies, and further practices the commercial concept of pre5G


ZTE Pre5G Massive MIMO Base Station Sets Record for Capacity




ZTE’s proprietary multi-user/multi-stream spatial multiplexing technology demonstrated peak data throughput 3 times higher than traditional base stations in pre-commercial field testing


26 January 2015, Shenzhen, China – ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, strengthened its leadership in 5G innovations by becoming the world’s first company to complete pre-commercial field testing of multi-user and multi-stream transmission on a Massive MIMO (multiple input multiple output) base station, setting new records in single-carrier transmission capacity and spectral efficiency.


Using ZTE’s proprietary pre5G multi-user/multi-stream spatial multiplexing technology, with user handsets based on existing 4G standards, the company’s Massive MIMO base station demonstrated peak data throughput that is more than three times that of traditional base stations, and average data throughput that exceeds conventional systems by at least five times.


“Being a pre5G technology, ZTE’s Massive MIMO solution is delivering exponential advances to 4G networks without modifying existing air interfaces, making it possible for carriers to provide a 5G-like user experience on existing 4G handsets in an accelerated timeframe,” said Dr. Xiang Jiying, Chief Scientist of ZTE. “ZTE successfully overcame the challenge of doing multi-user and multi-stream spatial multiplexing in a scattered-signal environment, clearing the main hurdle in the development of Massive MIMO technology.”


Several major international telecommunications operators indicated they would deepen their collaborations with ZTE, after they were invited to attend the field test, noting the record-breaking results had exceeded their expectations.


The latest test came two months after ZTE successfully completed pre-commercial test of the world’s first pre5G Massive MIMO base station in November 2014. Based on ZTE’s self-developed baseband processor chipset, the company’s pre5G solutions offer advances in the level of integration. Comprising 128 antennas, ZTE’s Massive MIMO base station uses a frontal area similar to existing 8-antennas. Integrating antennas, base station units and RFs in one module, ZTE’s Massive MIMO base station uses only one-third of the installation space of traditional systems, lowering operating costs and total cost ownership of operators.

The Site for Massive 230
dave ask

Massive MIMO is rapidly deploying across the world; Soon, I'll be adding many more countries to the Massive MIMO map. On average, adding 64 or 128 antennas triples the performance of the cell site at moderate cost. Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE are shipping by the thousands.

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor.