Ericsson adds FDD massive MIMO radio to its 5G portfolio

Image credit: Roland Magnusson /

Ericsson announced it has expanded its 5G portfolio with the AIR 3246, its first 5G NR product for FDD.

Ericsson’s 5G Platform currently includes three TDD radios capable of supporting 5G and massive MIMO, as well as core, transport, digital support and security elements.

The AIR 3246, which supports both 4G/LTE and 5G NR, will enable operators – especially in metropolitan areas – to bring 5G to subscribers using existing mid-band spectrum and boost capacity in their LTE networks, said Fredrik Jejdling, head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson.

“The new radio will enable operators to enhance 4G capacity for their subscribers today and be ready for 5G tomorrow, using the same hardware,” he said.

Ericsson says it analyzed 4G network performance statistics from metropolitan areas around the world, and found that the probability of a smart device suffering from insufficient speed can be as high as 20% during peak hours.

Massive MIMO is a key technology to bridge from 4G to 5G, adding intelligent capacity and boosting user experience, said Stefan Pongratz, senior director at the Dell’Oro Group.

“With an expected 2021 installed base of 10M LTE macro radios in high traffic and metro areas, service providers are expected to capitalize on the improved spectral efficiency made possible with massive MIMO,” Pongratz said.

FDD massive MIMO is part of a trial with T-Mobile US, on three sites in Baltimore, Maryland. This will be the first time that standardized massive MIMO will be used to carry commercial LTE traffic using mid-band FDD spectrum.

Massive MIMO on FDD can increase network capacity up to three times and bring up to five times better user throughput, boosting performance for the end users. Today’s global base is primarily on FDD technology and devices, which separates uplink and downlink streams on different radio frequencies.

AIR 3246 will be commercially available in the second quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, Ericsson also announced it will complement its 5G core transformation services introduced earlier this year with a set of services helping operators on the road to 5G.

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