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Recently, MTN South Africa, Qualcomm Technologies and Huawei jointly completed a 4x4 MIMO field trial in a live network, where the average download throughput increased by 74 percent compared to traditional LTE 2x2 MIMO. Based on that excellent performance of the technology, MTN plans to rollout South Africa's largest 4x4 MIMO network in 2017 to provide users with the best 4.5G experience.

MTN South Africa began to roll out their LTE network in 2012. Average growth rate of mobile data traffic in the whole network reaches 79 percent. The growing demand for data service needs more capacity to allow for enhanced user experiences. MIMO technology allows operators to significantly improve network capacity and user experience, and coverage without adding spectrum or adding new sites.

Compared with traditional 2x2 MIMO, the field trial demonstrated that the average download throughput of 4 receiver terminal (4x4 MIMO) increased by 74 percent and 2 receiver terminal (4x2 MIMO) increased by 26 percent, which showed deploying higher-order MIMO that can alleviate network traffic congestions.

“MTN has been committed to providing users with the richest communications life, so that our users can enjoy more movies, music and football in real-time through mobile networks,” said Giovanni Chiarelli, CTIO of MTN South Africa. “As a result, we continue to improve our network experience by introducing advanced technical solutions. MTN is confident in MIMO technology. We plan to roll out the largest 4x4 MIMO 4.5G network in South Africa, and introduce the latest 4x4 MIMO terminal to allow users to enjoy the best 4.5G experience in 2017.”

“We are very pleased to be able to participate in this field trial and provide mobile test devices based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 mobile processor with X12 LTE,” said James Munn, vice president, business development, Qualcomm International, Inc., South Africa. “The results are very positive, 4T4R has significant gains both on downlink capacity and uplink coverage. We encourage the rollout of 4x4 MIMO across the network and maximizing 4x4 MIMO capable device penetration to realize more gains.”

Steven Wu, CEO of South Africa Huawei Tech. Investment, said: “Huawei has delivered more than 30 4T4R networks globally. We found both 4x4 MIMO and 4x2 MIMO has outstanding performances in this field trial. At Mobile World Congress 2017, a variety of 4 receiver terminals have gone to market. Meanwhile, 4T4R has been the benchmark of 4.5G network. We believe Huawei’s advanced multi-antenna technology can play an important role in MTN South Africa’s network.”

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