HKT kicks off LTE-A upgrade to 1 Gbps (more or less)

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HKT says it is upgrading its LTE-A network to gigabit levels by rolling out 4×4 MIMO and four component carrier (4CC) aggregation.

Following on from its May launch of 600-Mbps LTE-A – which utilized 3CC aggregation and 256QAM – HKT says its latest upgrade enables users to realize data speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

The key phrase is “up to”. While the network will be decidedly faster than the current 600 Mbps, HKT said in a disclaimer footnote that “1 Gbps is our network specification for downlink”, and that actual connection speeds will be “less than the specifications and will be affected by the devices used, locations, network conditions and other extraneous factors”.

One way devices will initially impact actual data speed is that currently there are no commercially available devices capable of supporting gigabit speeds. HKT said in another disclaimer footnote that compatible devices “are expected to be commercially available in the next few months”.

HKT said the 1-Gbps service will initially be launched at selected high traffic locations, and will be progressively extended to more areas as more compatible devices become available.

HKT noted that the data speeds are supported not only by its base stations supporting 4×4 MIMO and 4CC technology, but also its fiber IP backbone infrastructure supplying up to 10 Gbps of backhaul per site with less than 1 millisecond network latency.

This will bring an unprecedented mobile online experience for Internet browsing, video services and gaming – and set the stage for HKT’s eventual migration to 5G, said Alex Arena, group managing director of HKT.

“HKT’s fiber-rich network and fiber IP backbone infrastructure is essential foundation for future 5G network rollout,” Arena said in a statement. “We will continue to deploy advanced technologies in order to provide the ultimate user experience as Hong Kong moves to the 5G era.”

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