The CEO of PHAZR says that the 5G startup now has trials of its radio infrastructure underway in Europe and the US as it works to bring its technology to market within the next 12 months.
Allen, Texas-based PHAZR, which was formed in 2016, pitches its system as different because it uses both high-band millimeter wave and low-band spectrum in a massive antenna array system, with the high-frequency radios handling the downlink and the low-band delivering the uplink.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a second experimental 28GHz radio test license for PHAZR in in February. The startup’s founder and CEO, Farooq Khan, tells Light Reading that the millimeter wave (mmWave) tests extend beyond the borders of the US.
“PHAZR’s 5G products for 24-40GHz licensed millimeter wave spectrum are already in pre-commercial trials with select customers in the US and Europe,” Khan noted on Tuesday afternoon.
PHAZR has three separate strands to its current offerings. The mmWave “Gazer” self-install customer premises unit (CPE) is intended to deliver 1Gbit/s-plus in the home. Meanwhile, the company says that its “RABACK” basestation can deliver “nearly” 100Gbit/s capacity per cell. And its system can support thousands of mmWave antennas and hundreds of low-band antennas per cell, the company claims.
“Each 5G cell equipped with ‘Hyperdense’ beamforming fires up to 36 beams in elevation [vertical] and azimuth [horizontal angle] using 1,152 millimeter wave and 324 sub-6GHz antennas to deliver nearly 100Gbit/s capacity within 200-700 meters of non-line-of-sight coverage,” Khan explains.
The company says that its “ECCAN” cloud-based self-optimizing network (SON) software is designed to support 5G features like network slicing, while managing radio resources across its basestations and connection to existing 4G LTE systems.
“In the US, we are testing in the 27.5–28.35GHz and 37–40GHz bands that the FCC opened up for 5G last year,” Khan tells us. “In Europe, we are doing pre-commercial trials in the 26GHz [24.25GHz–27.5GHz] band that is identified as a 5G ‘pioneer band’ by Europe’s regulators.”
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PHAZR got initial funding in June 2016 from FiberTower Corp. and iTimes Ventures, among others. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has since announced plans to buy the mobile backhaul provider. (See AT&T Could Cover 98% of US Pop. With FiberTower ‘5G’ Spectrum.)
Khan didn’t specifically respond to Light Reading’s question about whether it was testing with AT&T. Some of Ma Bell’s key 5G testing sites are about four hours down the highway in Austin, Texas.
Nonetheless, the CEO and team aren’t thinking small for PHAZR, claiming that its products will “accelerate commercial deployments of 5G fixed wireless and mobile networks.” The company expects initial fixed deployments in 2017. (See Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April.)
“Minimum software and hardware changes would be required to upgrade these products for the 5G standard currently under development in 3GPP,” says Khan.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading