Over 10 gigabits speed per second achieved through 5.5G in its mobile network in a laboratory environment

Vivacom marked another major milestone in the telecommunications sector as the first in Bulgaria and one of the first operators worldwide, to launch tests of the latest 5.5G mobile technology. The technology is the next important phase in the 5G era and is based on the latest mobile network standard 5G Advanced (Release 18), which was finalized just a month ago. This step has placed Vivacom among the leading operators worldwide that continuously upgrade the capabilities of their mobile networks through new features for the benefit of businesses and consumers.

Nikolai Andreev, CEO Vivacom: “We are the first telecom operator in Bulgaria to test 5.5G and one of the first worldwide, cementing our role as innovator in the telecom sector in the country. The results from our 5.5G tests in a laboratory environment are very impressive at this stage. We achieved average download speeds of over 10 Gbps and upload speeds over 1 Gbps. This confirms a 10-fold increase of network capacity compared to the initial 5G standard. With this, it will be possible to increase up to 10 times the data speed and the number of networked devices. In a world of continuous increase in mobile data usage, the new technology will enable next-generation services and help the evolution of mobile networks towards the 6G era, which is expected to begin in 2030.”

Major benefits offered by 5.5G technology expected for business and consumers are better performance, much higher efficiency, and even lower latency. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be boosted and will become an integral part of each network solution with the aim to deliver greater optimization of energy consumption and network productivity. The increased capacity will facilitate high-speed broadband needed for next-generation services, such as 3D applications, mobile cloud services, gaming and social networks, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), autonomous vehicles and smart cities, which require huge capacity and higher data rates.

“If further tests we have planned in a real environment are successful, we will upgrade the first base stations in Bulgaria to 5.5G. This means that we are creating the prerequisite for commercializing this new technology for the future benefit of the Bulgarian users before it becomes available in many other markets across the world”, said Nikolay Gavrilov, Chief Technical Director of Vivacom.

Among other benefits of the 5.5G standard (Release 18) will be the enlarged capabilities of RedCap (Reduced Capability) and Passive IoT (Internet of Things), both of which are crucial to the future of industrial applications.

- RedCap: This technology leads to major reduction of both energy consumption and device manufacturing costs without compromising performance. RedCap devices stand out for their improved connectivity and ability to function in environments with dense concentration of devices such as industrial areas and smart cities. In turn, this facilitates the use of simpler and energy-efficient industrial terminals, requiring higher speeds, while ensuring low latency and uninterrupted coverage. The biggest applications of the technology are expected in smart devices, industrial wireless sensors, video surveillance and smart grids.

- Passive IoT: This technology enables the monitoring and localization of devices, which do not need external power supply or battery and have lower cost than previous IoT technologies. This makes it perfect for widespread deployment in logistical chains and manufacturing lines with demanding reliability and efficiency requirements.