Incumbent operator O2 Czech Republic has announced that, as part of its next step toward 5G, it is conducting trials of two new technologies – wireless-to the-x (WTTx) and 2.6GHz TDD Massive MIMO – in a ‘live traffic’ environment. Claiming a first for the country, O2 CR is deploying 2.6GHz TDD Massive MIMO in areas with a high concentration of data users to further boost data speeds. As explained by the operator’s director of operations Marek Ruzicka: ‘[O2 CR is] constantly growing in terms of the number of customers using mobile data, and consumption is rising sharply with our new tariffs, and this year’s growth in the volume of data transferred by 94% is driven by home-based customers, including wireless … therefore, the network needs to be continually improving, using new frequency bands to increase its capacity.’ Massive MIMO will initially be rolled out in high traffic areas first, Ruzicka says, noting that the new technology brings more capacity to existing frequencies, allowing for more efficient use of current allocations.
Further, the O2 CR official says that having secured a block of 40MHz of 3.7GHz spectrum for CZK203 million (USD9.45 million) earlier this year, it is now using WTTx technology in a live setting as part of its 5G migration path. WTTx is a 4G and 4.5G-based broadband access solution, which uses wireless to provide ‘fibre-like’ broadband access speeds for residential users. WTTx claims to deliver superior network performance, low cost, fast deployment and easy maintenance. ‘We want to take advantage of the spectrum we need to build new services and improve existing ones for today’s customers … The development of fifth-generation networks will bring significant mobile internet acceleration to those households connected,’ Ruzicka said. With O2 CR currently testing both technologies in real-time, commercial deployment is planned in 2018.