Operator Turkcell claims to have demoed mobile broadband speeds of up to 1.2Gb/s, upping the ante in a 4.5G technology battle that once again features Chinese vendor Huawei.
Turkey’s largest operator is preparing the launch of so-called 4.5G technology on 1 April 2016. In August it paid €1.62 billion for 172.4 MHz of spectrum in the country’s auction, a high-profile event that attracted global interest after the country’s president earlier claimed Turkey could skip LTE technology and instead jump to 5G in just two years time (in the end, President Tayyip Erdogan managed to save face after regulator BTK promoted the tender as a ‘4.5G’ auction).
4.5G has been heavily promoted by Huawei and the Chinese vendor last week provided the infrastructure for an outdoor “real-life” pilot from TeliaSonera that claimed to have reached “world record” download speeds of up to 1Gb/s in Oslo. It follows other Huawei 4.5G trials at China Mobile and Japan’s SoftBank. And last month Hong Kong’s HKT demoed four-band carrier aggregation from the vendor that achieved speeds of up to 1.2Gb/s.
4.5G technology has been claimed to bridge the gap between 4G and 5G, and standards body 3GPP officially approved it in October, giving it the moniker LTE Advanced Pro. Huawei claims 4.5G will reduce latency from the current level of about 40ms to 10ms and provide theoretical peak speeds of around 1Gb/s.
Five-band carrier aggregation
Turkcell’s 1.2Gb/s speed trumps TeliaSonera’s effort. During the five-band carrier aggregation demo at the operator’s Istanbul headquarters, Turkcell used 79.8 MHz of frequency consisting of 29.8 MHz (20 + 9.8) in the 1800 MHz band, 30 MHz (20+10) in the 2100 MHz band, and 20 MHz in 2600 MHz band – a configuration that includes use of the spectrum Turkcell had acquired in 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz bands in Turkey’s auction held 26 August.
“With the 4.5G auction, we had set the bar high in terms of offering the fastest mobile broadband internet. We had announced that we would not only offer the country’s fastest 4.5G upon roll-out on 1 April, but also go beyond that in order to match the current fiber experience on mobile,” said Ilker Kuruoz, Turkcell’s CTO. “With this speed demo, we are not only pushing the limits of 4.5G but also taking a major step towards 5G experience in terms of reaching speeds that exceed 1Gb/s.”
Turkcell expects to support theoretical peak download speeds of up to 375Mb/s at its commercial 4.5G launch in April, aggregating three carrier bands. It aims to push this up to beyond 1Gb/s “towards the end of 2016” using the five-band carrier aggregation technology from the demo. However, smartphones supporting this deployment are unlikely to be available before mid-2017.
At present Turkcell claims its customers can receive peak 3G speeds of up to 63.3Mb/s “on supporting devices,” meaning users will (in theory) see their mobile broadband speed experience increase by a factor of 19 in less than two years.