Ericsson, Faroese Telecom set European 5G mmWave downlink speed record

Rocky terrain and rapidly changing weather are not stopping Ericsson or Faroese Telecom from bringing the latest 5G technology to the North Atlantic Sea.

Ericsson and Faroese Telecom announced the completion of a test in a live 5G non-standalone (NSA) network where they achieved a downlink speed of 5.9 Gbps when using 256 QAM modulation. An upload speed of 1.6 Gbps was registered by aggregating several carriers in the uplink and selecting a time division duplex (TDD) pattern optimized for uplink traffic.

The demonstration used 26 GHz spectrum. Ericsson is the sole provider of 5G radio access network (RAN) and 5G core for Faroese Telecom; Ericsson’s work includes modernizing the existing 4G network.

Since deploying 5G across the Faroe Islands starting in 2022, the service provider’s RAN has been built out on a mission for 100% geographic coverage in terms of total landmass – in addition to sea coverage reaching 120 km out in all directions, according to a press release.

The self-governing Faroe Islands is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The archipelago has a population of 54,000 and its 18 islands are mostly connected by bridges, subsea tunnels and ferries.

“Our ambition is to have giga speed everywhere on the islands – in cities as well as in small villages, on roads, in tunnels, on mountaintops and even out to sea,” said Faroese Telecom Group CEO Jan Ziskasen in a statement. “Digital inclusion is a main pillar in our sustainability agenda thus reaching every centimeter and every person located on our 18 islands is paramount. This will bring unprecedented services to our consumers and businesses where world-class 5G gives key infrastructure for developing products and services paving the way for the future.”

Ericsson said the peak download speed measured in the test is the fastest measured speed in a live network in Europe to date. The multi-gigabit millimeter wave (mmWave) technology will be deployed across all of the 18 islands, including suburban and rural areas.

The test was conducted in an indoor environment. Ericsson provided its AIR 5322 and Baseband 6648. It said that by aggregating 800 MHz of 5G mmWave spectrum in n258 and 40 MHz of 4G FDD (frequency division duplex) spectrum, they measured a downlink speed of 5.9 Gbps by the smartphone when using 256 QAM modulation.  

“Faroese Telecom is showing the world how 5G can be deployed on a wide scale during a limited period of time,” said Niclas Backlund, country manager of Ericsson Denmark, in a statement. “Rocky volcanic islands and rapidly changing weather is not stopping either them or us from bringing the latest 5G technology to the North Atlantic Sea. I am truly looking forward to continuing to partner with Faroese Telecom with the ambition of building a world class 5G network, with more industry firsts.”