T-Mobile and Ericsson just teamed up on a 16-layer multi-user multi-input multi-output (MU-MIMO) demonstration, showcasing peak cell throughput of more than 5.6 Gbps. That’s on one channel of 2.5 GHz spectrum. During the test, engineers connected eight separate smartphones to the same 5G radio and resources and, thanks to MU-MIMO—a fancy term for reusing the same radio resources for many users in the same cell at the same time—and beamforming—focusing a wireless connection in a specific direction—were able to achieve more than 700 Mbps on each device. At scale, this technology means T-Mobile could connect massively more devices to the same cell infrastructure and still deliver blazing fast speeds to all of them without compromising performance and that means wireless companies will be able to deliver even better 5G performance to even more people.
“This is what you get when you pair T-Mobile’s unmatched spectrum portfolio with the best damn team in wireless—innovation that changes the game for the entire industry,” said Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile. “We have a 5G network that’s second to none, and it’s getting better by the day thanks to our amazing engineers and partners. Just wait until you see what they do next for our customers!”
Using a commercially available massive MIMO radio with 64 antennas from Ericsson and the OnePlus 8 5G smartphones T-Mobile sells today, 16 unique streams of data were transmitted—each stream capable of hitting more than 350 Mbps. And with two data streams for each device, that’s 700+ Mbps for each smartphone, all using the same radio resources at the same time.
In simple terms, the test is significant because the technology will allow T-Mobile to bring blazing fast 5G speeds to more customers. In tech terms, with 100 MHz of total 5G spectrum in the demonstration, T-Mobile was able to achieve an astonishing 50+ bps/Hz in spectral efficiency. That is much higher than the single digit efficiency typically experienced today. T-Mobile expects to begin deploying this technology next year as they continue the goal of building America’s best 5G network.
T-Mobile has the first and largest nationwide 5G network, covering over 250 million people across 1.3 million square miles—that’s bigger than AT&T and Verizon’s 5G networks combined. The Un-carrier is quickly lighting up 2.5 GHz spectrum from Sprint—bringing customers in those areas average speeds around 300 Mbps with peaks up to 1 Gbps. And that’s only going to get better, thanks to innovations like this.