In December 2015, NetCom, the Norway-based subsidiary of TeliaSonera, announced the world’s first and fastest LTE Advanced Pro (4.5G) mobile network over a live commercial network in Oslo, Norway. The operator reached speeds of up to 1 Gbps in a demonstration together with Chinese vendor Huawei. This is an important milestone towards the expected commercial availability of 4.5G mobile network in 2016.
“This is the future mobile network for the new generation telecommunications companies. TeliaSonera is an innovative company that will always strive to be in front of the development, and we are proud to cooperate with Huawei in Norway to develop and test this new technology. Our vision is to bring the world closer on the customer’s terms, and we will drive the digitalization and create value for both our customers and society,” said Mr. Abraham Foss, CEO of TeliaSonera Norway.
Standards body 3GPP approved LTE Advanced Pro in October and described it as a “new LTE marker” that will be included in Release 13, which will be frozen in March 2016. LTE Advanced Pro will allow mobile standards users to associate various new features with a distinctive marker that evolves the LTE and LTE Advanced technology series, 3GPP said.
Following the world’s first commercial 4G network in 2009, once again TeliaSonera Norway is part of breaking records with the world’s first demonstration of 4.5G in a real outdoor environment with the same frequencies and radio equipment that the normal mobile network uses.
NetCom became the first operator in the world to take the LTE Advanced Pro (4.5G) mobile network technology out of the test laboratory and build a pilot outdoors under real life conditions. To achieve the high speed, the operator transmitted data over four frequency bands simultaneously, and only frequencies already available for mobile communications were used: 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz.
TeliaSonera’s 4G network provides coverage to over 95 percent of the population in Norway, and 4G+ to over one-fifth of the population. 4G and 4G+ offers speeds of up to 80 Mbps and 300 Mbps. LTE Advanced Pro (4.5G) will provide speeds of up to 1 Gbps allowing users to download a 1GB movie in few seconds.
According to Jon Christian Hillestad, CTO of TeliaSonera Norway, LTE Advanced Pro is “an important step towards 5G, which lies a few years ahead.”
“We do not know exactly which speeds the future will require, but we know that the digitisation era, where the Internet of Things will continuously grow, will demand much higher speeds. The future will require bandwidth, high speed and no delay in transfers. We are preparing for that reality with the LTE Advanced Pro,” Hillestad added.
HD voice, ultra-high definition video, smart home solutions and smart health applications are rapidly emerging. At the same time, the increasing number of connections and the need for higher speeds mean that we urgently need an even more advanced technology than today’s 4G. With the introduction of 4.5G technology, operators will be able to improve the user experience and support the increase of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as new mobile Internet applications, such as VR glasses and drone technology.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has previously indicated that 5G network speeds under the IMT-2020 roadmap would be expected to reach up to 10 Gbps, with up to 20 Gbps supported “under certain conditions and scenarios”.
The 3GPP also noted that the introduction of LTE Advanced Pro as a new marker “confirms the need for LTE enhancements to continue along their distinctive development track, in parallel to the future proposals for the 5G era.”
Indeed, Nokia Networks CTO Hossein Moiin said earlier this year that new interfaces for 5G would have to coexist with existing interfaces such as LTE.
“Today we have shown the future of mobile networks and a taste of what we can expect on our way to 5G,” said Abraham Foss, CEO of TeliaSonera Norway.
“What we witnessed today is only the beginning of the 4.5G era of wireless communications, where 1Gbps will be the new mobile broadband network rate benchmark. As the strategic partner of the world’s leading telecom companies like TeliaSonera Norway, Huawei will continue to help operators build wireless networks that will expand their business and make our world more connected,” said Mr. Yang Chaobin, CMO of Huawei Wireless Product Line.
Huawei expects that the commercial deployment of 4.5G among operators will start from 2016.