Massive MIMO Reality: It Works & Triples Performance
China Mobile and Softbank Japan are deploying thousands. The three major Indians, Sprint & Verizon in the U.S., and True in Thailand are serving customers. I expect the Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone soon and dozens more in the next few years. The performance varies strongly with the terrain. Softbank reports results as high as a 10X improvement but the 3X reported by Huang Yuhong of China Mobile is more typical.
Flat terrain limits reflections and limits MIMO. Early systems worked only in TDD mode and spectrum, but now FDD networks are also in the field. While 64 antennas are most common, ZTE and Softbank report as much as an 18X gain using 128 antennas. Tuning the beamforming allows particular improvement at the cell edge, per Softbank.
In sub-Saharan Africa, where there are very few landlines, the capacity boost is particularly important.
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