Swedish telecommunications giant, Ericsson, this week demonstrated a technology which is ten times faster than the commercial 4G technology. It is called LTE advanced and it was set up in a base cell site with a mobile van. The impressive bit is that all the equipment is based on readily available commercial equipment that is 3GPP Release 10 global standard compliant.

The test was done on a test frequency provided by the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) which enabled Ericsson to demonstrate functionalities such as carrier aggregation of 3 x 20MHz (60MHz aggregated) over the air in a mobile environment for the first time.

After the tests, Ericsson issued a statement saying;

The enhancements introduced with LTE Advanced include carrier aggregation and extended multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) functionality. From a user perspective, this means that information can be retrieved and sent much faster, even when the network is congested. This, in combination with the faster speeds, improves the user experience significantly.

The demo system was based on Ericsson’s multi-mode, multi-standard radio base station, RBS 6000. Live traffic was streamed between the RBS and a moving van from which network performance could be monitored. In the demonstration, 60MHz of aggregated bandwidth was used, compared to the 20MHz maximum that is currently possible using LTE. In the downlink, 8×8 MIMO was used.

In 2010, the technology’s first year of operation, the number of users with access to LTE networks rose from 0 to 150 million people. Ericsson supplied the majority of these commercial LTE networks and has signed contracts with six of the world’s top seven operators ranked by 2010 global revenues.

The technology is expected to be commercially available in 2013. We might not see the technology in Africa soon as even majority of the operators are yet to embrace 3G let alone LTE.