China Mobile, ZTE, Qualcomm milk 5.4 Gbps speeds out of 5G-A

Chinese telecoms equipment vendor ZTE said on Friday it has collaborated with China Mobile and Qualcomm to achieve a peak download rate of 5.4 Gbps on a 5G-Advanced network by combining three-carrier aggregation with 1024QAM.

Earlier this year, China Mobile’s Zhejiang Branch conducted an end-to-end field test using 3CC CA (three-carrier component carrier aggregation) technology, utilising 260 MHz of spectrum in the 2.6-GHz and 4.9-GHz bands.

The test also used 1024QAM (1024-state Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), a higher-order modulation technology defined in 3GPP’s Release 17 that can transmit 10 bits of data in a single symbol.

3CC CA and 1024QAM are both key components in 5G-Advanced, the next iteration of 5G under Release 17. When the two are combined, 1024QAM can improve the peak data rate and spectral efficiency by 25% over 256QAM in the same bandwidth, according to ZTE.

The field test results showed that combining both features can achieve a single user downlink data rate of over 5.4 Gbps, the company said in a statement.

The test utilized China Mobile’s 5G network in Jiaxing, as well as commercial 5G network equipment from ZTE and a test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X75, billed as the first 5G-A-ready modem and RF system.

China Mobile said the test shows how it can “fully unlock the spectrum potential of 5G commercial networks”, particularly for emnerging bandwidth-intensive applications like “VR smart experiences, ultra-high-definition live broadcasting, and glasses-free 3D.”

Earlier this month, China Mobile said it has launched 5G-A in 100 cities across China, and aims to expand coverage to more than 300 cities before the end of this year.