U.S. Cellular has achieved speeds of 8.5 Gbps in tests of 5G fixed wireless technology at 28 GHz using macrocell antennas. The U.S. cellular 5G fixed wireless tests were the first to use an antenna height of 123 feet, the company said.
Because distances covered are shorter for wireless communications in high-frequency millimeter wave (mmWave) bands, some network operators expect to use lower antenna heights. But in an email to Telecompetitor, a U.S. Cellular spokesperson said that the company wanted “to understand mmWave coverage using our existing macrocell assets where higher antenna heights are possible” and therefore, chances of line-of-sight paths are better.
The U.S. Cellular 28 GHz testing used equipment from Ericsson in rural and suburban environments in Madison, Wisconsin and also achieved virtual reality testing at peak speeds of 4 Gbps, according to a press release.
The companies noted that the virtual reality testing demonstrated 5G’s potential to support low-latency service.
U.S. Cellular 5G Fixed Wireless
U.S. Cellular got the 28 GHz spectrum used in the testing on an experimental license basis, the company spokesperson said. This is the second time the carrier has tested 5G at 28 GHz. Previously the company tested equipment from Nokia.
Additionally, the carrier previously tested 5G service at 15 GHz using Ericsson equipment and an experimental license.
Asked about the number of people per square mile that could be well served using fixed 5G wireless, the U.S. Cellular spokesperson said “There is no magic number. There are many factors that determine the number of users and antenna height being just one of them.”
U.S. Cellular’s spectrum holdings are in the low- and mid-frequency bands, the spokesperson said. That could require the company to obtain more spectrum in order to achieve the highest 5G speeds. The spokesperson noted, though, that “all spectrum will eventually be used for 5G.”