Airtel Announces Pre-5G Massive MIMO Technology, Promises 2-3 Times Faster Speeds for Existing 4G Users

Airtel on Tuesday announced the deployment of Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO), claiming it to be first 5G-capable deployment in India. The company is starting the first round of deployment in Bengaluru and Kolkata and will then expand to other parts of the country soon, the company said in a press statement.

The Massive MIMO technology, which has been deployed as part of the company’s Project Leap network transformation program, will essentially expand the existing network capacity by five to seven times using the existing spectrum, thereby improving spectral efficiency, the company said.

The company claims that with the implementation of the new technology, the customers will experience two to three times the speeds even on the existing 4G network without the need of any upgrades or plan changes.

“Massive MIMO creates 3D beams both on horizontal and vertical planes towards users located within its coverage footprint. This helps in improving coverage and reducing interference across users in different beams, thereby improving signal quality (SINR) by 2-3dB. Serving multiple users by re-using same set of resource blocks (MU-MIMO) with improved signal quality helps in improving user experience, cell capacity and spectrum efficiency,” says Airtel.

“Data speeds will now also be seamless, offering enhanced user experience even indoors, in crowded places and high rise buildings. It would enable multiple users and multiple devices to work simultaneously without facing any congestion or experience issues especially at hotspot locations,” the company added.

Airtel has described the Massive MIMO as a “pre-5G technology” that will make the network future ready for meeting the data demand going ahead. Regarding the announcement, Abhay Savargaonkar, Director – Networks, Bharti Airtel, said, “India is fast striding towards exponential and unprecedented data growth.

Our latest deployment of Massive MIMO, will help us serve this demand and would also give an impetus to build a future ready network. The deployment gives us a strategic advantage to provide faster speeds and enhanced user experience for our customers, thereby translating into improved spectrum efficiency.”

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