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China Mobile Guangdong will run a field trial of ZTE’s “pre-5G” TD-LTE base stations in 2015, and Softbank Mobile will launch a trial network in January 2016 in Tokyo, to help alleviate capacity issues. This was the biggest LTE news to come out of ZTE’s Global Analyst Conference in Shanghai last week.


  • This research note explains what "pre-5G" is and whether it will have a global impact on operators. Pre-5G will launch commercially in 2017 in Japan, but we believe it will not be of interest to all operators, which can survive until full commercial 5G becomes available in 2020.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the technologies to be included in pre-5G.
  • Evaluates the potential of pre-5G to become a truly global technology.

Key questions answered

  • What is pre-5G?
  • What operators are looking at launching pre-5G, and why is their business case unique?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Pre-5G incorporates massive MIMO, with commercial rollouts due in 2017
  • Subscriber density and limited space make pre-5G a must for Softbank, but not for all operators
  • Pre-5G, LTE in Europe, TD-LTE, and China are growth drivers for ZTE, but it will not be an easy ride


  • Further reading
  • Author

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