After a bunch of spectrum in the 6 GHz band was recently allocated to mobile, Nokia and Telia have wasted little time in checking it out.

The Finnish kit vendor and Swedish operator group Telia teamed up to see how useful 6 GHz spectrum is for massive MIMO 5G. They completed an outdoor trial at Nokia’s R&D centre in Espoo, Finland (pictured), in which they used an 128TRX antenna based on Nokia’s AirScale Habrok radio and a test terminal from MediaTek with integrated antennas. Apparently it all went well, although they’re apparently not ready to talk speeds and feeds yet.

Following extensive lobbying from mobile and wifi stakeholders, the WRC-23 gathering decided to give the mobile industry 700 MHz of spectrum in the upper end of the 6 GHz band (specifically the 6.425-7.125 GHz). That gives operators another big chunk of spectral real estate to play with – ideal for the kind of massive MIMO fat 5G pipes that mid-band spectrum is all about.

‘Field tests confirmed the macro-grid-readiness of the upper 6 GHz spectrum used with Massive MIMO,’ said the press release. ‘It showed that massive capacity can be added in urban areas, where there is higher demand for TDD broadband, and high throughput can be achieved in suburban or rural areas. This offers operators an evolution path to 5G-Advanced and 6G, in the future.’

“As our customers generate increasing amounts of mobile traffic, it is essential to have further access to mid-band TDD spectrum to enhance digitalization in our markets and serve our customers appropriately,” said Stefan Jäverbring, Group CTO at Telia.

“This field test with our partner, Nokia, is an important step in demonstrating how this can be done sustainably, as it would be possible to use our existing site grid. In this way, deployment would be faster and have less environmental impact, creating fewer carbon emissions than the alternative of adding capacity by building more new sites.”

Leaving aside Telia’s apparent green obsession, his opening point about increasing mobile traffic is an increasingly contentious one. While growth has been exponential in previous years thanks to mobile video consumption, there are signs that is slowing. That, in turn, would undermine a lot of suppositions about the overall growth of the telecoms industry, so it will be instructive to see how popular this new 6 GHz band is with operators.

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