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ZTE Corporation, a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, together with China Mobile and Qualcomm, announced that they have demonstrated a Pre5G gigabit rate solution in time division-long term evolution (TD-LTE) commercial network in Quanzhou, Fujian.

They successfully tested the Quanzhou Mobile TD-LTE network with multi-carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, 256QAM and other industry advanced technology combinations, showing that the peak rate of the network can reach 1Gbps.

At the same time, in this network environment, China Mobile and ZTE further verified the Pre5G gigabit solution by utilising Qualcomm commercial chips Snapdragon 835 Platform and the peak rate reached 700 Mbps with a 10-stream data transmission on a single phone.

Along with the ongoing development of communications networks, improving the user experience is an important aspect of the evolution from LTE to 5G networks. In a white paper on 5G vision and requirements, the IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group pointed out that 5G should deliver a higher performance than 4G, and support a user-experience data rate of 0.1–1 Gbps. One of ZTE’s four core Pre5G technologies, Giga+ mobile broadband (MBB), uses massive multiple-input, multiple output (MIMO), multi-carrier aggregation, and high-order modulation technologies to improve spectrum efficiency and network-wide capacity, achieving a peak rate higher than 1 Gbps.

Prior to this, Quanzhou Mobile and ZTE jointly launched the commercial deployment of 3D-MIMO in big video environments. With 16 commercial terminals connected, the single-carrier downlink peak cell rate was close to 730 Mbps, and for the first time, the single-carrier 16-stream downlink peak rate of 3D-MIMO reached 700 Mbps, equalling a three-carrier rate up to 2.1 Gbps. This rate once again hit a record peak high for cell rates in field tests.

This field test by Quanzhou Mobile and ZTE is another breakthrough result, indicating a step forward in single-user rate enhancement. By using 4×4 MIMO, multi-carrier aggregation, and high-order baseband modulation (256 quadrature amplitude modulation or QAM) technologies, as well as commercial chips in the commercial network, this solution significantly improves the efficiency of the network spectrum without increasing bandwidth, and provides a user data rate of 1 Gbps or above. This solution also provides virtual reality (VR), cloud-based storage, free lossless audio codec (FLAC) music, and HD video services, bringing users an unprecedented immersive VR experience, ultra-high-speed file retrieval from the cloud, high-quality music and video, and more.

In 2014, ZTE was the first to propose the technological concept of Pre5G and a series of Pre5G solutions. ZTE can deliver a 5G-like performance and service experience on 4G networks, paving the way for a comprehensive evolution from 4G to 5G. As a transitional solution for the evolution from 4G to 5G, Pre5G enhances system capacity by up to eight times, average user bandwidth by five times, and the number of connections per unit area by 100 times compared with 4G.

ZTE Pre5G involves not only the application of key 5G technologies (for example, massive MIMO) with commercial availability on 4G networks, but also the enhancement of the LTE advanced (LTE-A) pro technologies in 3GPP architecture, such as massive CA, unified delivery network (UDN), 256 QAM, licensed assisted access (LAA), Wi-Fi link aggregation (LWA), and narrowband Internet of things (NB-IoT). Pre5G implements a smooth evolution based on existing 4G networks, effectively lowers network construction cost and supports rapid deployment, dramatically increasing the cost-performance ratio. In terms of the Giga+ MBB, massive IoT, and network cloudization, a combination of different technologies can be used to help operators upgrade from a 4G to 5G network capacity.

Pre5G is highly recognized in the industry. Thus far, Pre5G-related products and solutions have been deployed on more than 60 networks in more than 40 countries, including China, Japan, Austria, Singapore, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.