Saudi Telecom Co. Announces a 5G “First” in FDD/TDD Carrier Aggregation

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The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) last week announced what it is calling a “milestone in 5G commercial network development.” The carrier said it demonstrated new radio time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) carrier aggregation (CA) using Ericsson Spectrum Sharing (ESS) in FDD band and on a single MediaTek Dimensity 5G chipset. The company established the 5G Non-standalone data call by aggregating 20 MHz on FDD spectrum (shared with LTE using ESS) and 100 MHz on TDD spectrum in live network conditions in Riyadh. Additionally, NSA Dual Connectivity was enabled in order to aggregate two more LTE carriers using 40 MHz total bandwidth.

The combination of NR FDD 700 MHz and NR TDD 3.6GHz provides benefits in both coverage and capacity enhancements. Using NR FDD 700 MHz with Ericsson Spectrum Sharing (ESS) solutions enables spectrum sharing between 5G NR and LTE for more efficient spectrum usage and NR coverage extension of mid-band TDD. The tests seamlessly showed that aggregating 5G connections can provide users with greater throughput and enables STC to more efficiently manage 5G capacity. 

5G NR CA is unlocking new sources of spectrum in both the mid-band and low-band radio frequencies. NR CA will allow advanced RAN coordination, higher Peak Rate Throughput, extended coverage and increased efficiency while maximizing use of spectrum assets.

Eng. Khaled Al Dharrab, VP, Infrastructure Sector, STC,said: “it is with great pride that we report such world leading successful trials and technology advancements. STC is committed to continuous innovation and leadership, in order to offer highest possible value to its deserving customers. These tests were conducted on STC live network location using Ericsson’s and Mekia Tek’s latest and most advanced innovative solutions. STC pledges to continue to push technology boundaries in order to serve the Kingdom’s vision 2020 objectives.”

Mathias Johansson, Vice President and Head of Saudi Arabia and Egypt at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “We are pleased to achieve together with STC and MediaTek this outstanding milestone of non-standalone FDD and TDD carrier aggregation on a commercial network. Ericsson´s 5G carrier aggregation solution is the next game-changer to boost coverage and capacity. By combining low-band spectrum with mid-band we help STC to deploy a better 5G and ensure the best user experience.”

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