Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies completed a trial of frequency-division duplex (FDD) massive MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) on Verizon’s network in Irvine, California, using infrastructure equipment from Ericsson and user equipment from Qualcomm. The companies said this was the first successful FDD massive MIMO trial with a fully compatible customer device.

The trial connected Ericsson’s latest massive MIMO software and hardware with a mobile test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon™ 845 Mobile Platform with X20 LTE using transmission mode 9 (TM9). TM9 is an enhancement for consumer devices to make them compatible with massive MIMO.

Massive MIMO is a key technology being developed to increase the data capacity of the wireless network, which will benefit LTE and be a step in the evolution to 5G. Both the network and UE devices must have TM9 functionality, which uses beamforming between the infrastructure equipment and the mobile to increase spectral efficiency and data rates.

Ericsson’s massive MIMO portfolio is planned to be available in 2018, timed to coincide with commercial smartphones incorporating TM9 compatible chipsets, which are expected to be launched during the first half of 2018.

Nicola Palmer, the chief network engineer and head of wireless networks at Verizon, said, “Massive MIMO is a critical component of our 4G LTE advancements and will play an important role in 5G technology that will result in single digit latency and scalability in the billions of connections.”

Niklas Heuveldop, who heads Ericsson’s North American business, said, “Advanced antenna systems and massive MIMO are key technology enablers for 5G, and 4G LTE service providers and end users will also benefit from the superior capacity and network performance these technologies enable.”