In a clear first step towards 5G in the Caribbean, Ericsson and Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W) have successfully completed a Gigabit LTE trial in Antigua and Barbuda.

According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, video traffic in mobile networks will continue to grow rapidly and account for nearly 75 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2022. Gigabit LTE is a key technology that is enabling users to enjoy bandwidth-intensive services such as video streaming, and is an important stepping stone to 5G.

The Gigabit LTE solution for C&W was tested on the operator’s live network, and includes features such as carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), and higher order modulation (256-QAM) that use maximized data speeds for wireless broadband subscribers.

John Reid, CEO, C&W Communications, says: “We are proud that our long-term partnership with Ericsson enables us to offer our customers the best mobile experience. This trial is the next step for us to provide enhanced LTE, and eventually 5G, through an evolved network with the latest technologies across the region. Currently, Flow offers an average of 3 to 5 Mbps fixed wireless services using WiMax technology; with our pre-5G LTE-Advanced services, we will be able to offer services with an average of 30 to 50 Mbps.”

Elie Hanna, President of Ericsson Mexico, Central America and Caribbean, says: “The scope of this trial includes technologies that can handle the forecasted increase in mobile data traffic and be used for fixed wireless access, while ensuring a smooth evolution toward 5G. LTE networks with advanced technology such as Gigabit Class LTE not only will meet the opportunity for operators to develop and deploy networks that can handle the increase in traffic and deliver subscribers the user experience they expect, but also provide the perfect platform for network evolution toward 5G.”

In recent weeks, Ericsson has demonstrated near-gigabit speeds on commercial LTE networks in Europe and the United States using Licensed Assisted Access (LAA). That technology enables operators to use unlicensed spectrum (in a fair and regulated manner) in combination with their licensed spectrum. By doing this, subscribers experience even more capacity and faster speeds while operators make efficient use of unlicensed spectrum resources.

Explore more how Ericsson is helping operators to efficiently scale their networks and ensure a great user experience for their LTE subscribers.