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Cooperative base station for downlink multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) system is known as a critical radio technology for worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) communications. This study proposes to use zero-forcing beamforming for cooperative base stations in a downlink multicell MIMO system. It is well known that beamforming requires perfect knowledge of channel state information (CSI) at the transmitter, and in practice the perfect CSI may not be available because of channel estimation errors. In this study, using approximate capacity loss analysis the authors are able to analyse the effect of channel estimation errors on system capacity in a cooperative base station system with zero-forcing beamforming. A power allocation policy is proposed to reduce the capacity loss under per base station power constraints. Numerical results show that the approximate capacity loss is very close to the real capacity loss, which can be reduced with the help of the power allocation policy.