Industry News : Eyeing 6G: Nokia and Telia Run Massive MIMO Trial in the Upper 6 GHz

Eyeing 6G: Nokia and Telia Run Massive MIMO Trial in the Upper 6 GHz

Nokia headquarters, where the company conducts several experiments, including with 6G

Nokia and Telia announced they have successfully completed a field pilot in the upper 6 GHz spectrum band range. This frequency has recently arisen as a potential solution for the allocation problem 6G is already subject to.

Nokia utilised a 128TRX Massive MIMO radio based on its AirScale Habrok platform and a test terminal from MediaTek with integrated antennas. The experiment tested whether the uplink coverage on the new, higher frequency is compatible with the existing inter-site distances.

The companies tested the upper part of the band (n104) and used a 3.5 GHz massive MIMO cell of the same RF bandwidth across various distances to replicate different real-world scenarios.

According to Nokia, the results confirmed the macro-grid-readiness of the upper 6 GHz spectrum used with Massive MIMO.

“It showed that massive capacity can be added in urban areas, where there is a higher demand for TDD [Time Division Duplex] broadband and high throughput can be achieved in suburban or rural areas. This offers operators an evolution path to 5G-Advanced and 6G, in the future,” the Finnish company said in a press statement.

“This field test is an important step in demonstrating how to have further access to mid-band TDD spectrum to enhance digitalisation in our markets can be done sustainably, as it would be possible to use our existing site grid,” said Stefan Jäverbring, Group Chief Technology Officer at Telia.

Nokia expects that most operators will need to increase their TDD mid-band spectrum holdings in the second half of the decade. The company observed that the allocation of the upper 6 GHz spectrum for mobile services – also with 6G in mind – was agreed upon at the World Radio Conference 2023 (WRC-23). It is especially important in markets where the 7.2-8.4 GHz range will not be available.

The allocation of the upper 6 GHz spectrum received praise from telecoms association GSMA last year. “The WRC-23 decision to harmonise the 6 GHz band in every ITU Region is a pivotal milestone, bringing billions of people into a harmonised 6 GHz mobile footprint. It also serves as a critical developmental trigger for manufacturers of the 6 GHz equipment ecosystem,” GSMA stated at the time.

More than six months later, the association keeps its stance. “Mobile operators need additional spectrum to serve growing connectivity needs, so commercialisation of the upper 6 GHz band will be an important tool in enabling the digital ambitions of each country,” said Luciana Camargos, Head of Spectrum at the GSMA.




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