A system and method for multiple rank modulation transmission in a Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) or Multiple-Input Single-Output (MISO) system is provided. The method includes receiving at a transmitter, a signal with a plurality of bits and separating the received signal into a rank index bit block and a signal modulation bit block. The signal modulation bit block is encoded in a signal modulation scheme for transmission. The rank index bit block is used to select a rank to be activated, wherein the activated rank contains at least one active transmitter antenna and the encoded signal modulation bit block is transmitted via the activated rank being at least one activated transmitter antenna. The transmitted encoded signal modulation bit block is received via the receive antenna and a receiver a rank index and a transmitted symbol estimated from the received signal. The signal modulation bit block is finally decoded.