MTN South Africa recently announced it had partnered with Huawei to trial 1Gbps LTE in unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U) technology in South Africa.
Calling the technology 4.5G, MTN said it aggregated three carriers, used multiple antennas, and a specific modulation scheme to achieve the result.
Krishna Chetty, acting CTO at MTN South Africa, said they used a single 15MHz carrier of their licensed spectrum in the 2,100MHz band, and two 20MHz carriers in the unlicensed 5GHz band.
5GHz is also used for Wi-Fi.
In addition to aggregating three carriers, MTN and Huawei employed a 4-transmitter, 4-receiver antenna configuration and used 256 quadrature amplitude modulation.
To prove they can reach 1Gbps in a live test, MTN conducted a demonstration at its switching centre in Centurion – as shown in the image posted below.
Chetty said their core network is not yet capable of carrying 1Gbps traffic from Huawei radio equipment, so they conducted the demonstration over a local network.
No commercial devices are available for the technology yet, but operators believe handsets that support LTE-U speeds of 200Mbps or more will be available by the middle of 2016.