Nokia on Thursday announced it successfully trialed MulteFire technology on a mobile operator network in Saudi Arabia.
The technology, which utilizes unlicensed spectrum to boost download speeds and capacity, was deployed by the Saudi Telecom Company using its LTE network and airwaves in the unlicensed 5 GHz band. The trial used Nokia’s FlexiZone small cells together with MulteFire software.
“This test underpins our commitment to explore and identify the latest technologies that can further boost the overall service experience for our subscribers even as demand continues to grow,” STC senior vice president of Technology and Operations Nasser Al-Nasser said. “MulteFire will allow us to deliver LTE performance with a simplified deployment.”
Nokia said the MulteFire technology delivered total download and upload throughput of 120 mbps. The company said the tests also showed a 50 percent better range and up to two times better coverage when compared to Wi-Fi.
Nokia said the tests also demonstrated how a MulteFire network can co-exist with Wi-Fi, even in a densely populated environment. A co-existence test showed the MulteFire technology “harmoniously” functioning beside Wi-Fi, even when Wi-Fi was turned on in the same frequency and placed near the MulteFire access point, Nokia said.
The company called the tests a “crucial step toward commercialization of the technology.” Nokia said MulteFire technology is compatible with heterogeneous networks (HetNets) and will help operators meet increased connectivity demands that will come from smart cities and the Internet of Things.
Nokia did not immediately respond when asked if it is planning to conduct similar trials in the United States.
The test was completed just seven months after the founding of the MulteFire Alliance, of which Nokia is a member.
Across the pond, fellow MulteFire Alliance member Qualcomm is working with two U.S. operators on a similar technology that also uses unlicensed spectrum – LTE-U.
Last week, FCC documents revealed Qualcomm has teamed up with T-Mobile to trial LTE-U technology at four locations across the country. Qualcomm is also testing LTE-U with Verizon, which is reportedly planning a commercial launch of the technology in the second half of this year.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)