T-Mobile to Boost LTE Capacity and Speed with Newly-Approved LTE-U Technology

By Paul Riegler on 22 February 2017
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T-Mobile USA said it plans to deploy a new LTE technology this spring that will tap into underutilized 5 GHz spectrum that was until recently used primarily for Wi-Fi.

The move follows the Federal Communication Commission’s certification on Wednesday of LTE-U or LTE in unlicensed spectrum equipment from networking companies Ericsson and Nokia. The FCC approval followed a somewhat controversial process that was designed to ensure that mobile operator use of the 5 GHz band would not cause interference with Wi-Fi networks.

“LTE-U allows wireless providers to deliver mobile data traffic using unlicensed spectrum while sharing the road, so to speak, with Wi-Fi,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement.

Using LTE-U will allow the carrier to introduce new network capabilities and devices, T-Mobile said.

“With LTE-U, starting this spring, T-Mobile customers will be able to tap into the first 20 MHz of underutilized unlicensed spectrum on the 5GHz band and use it for additional LTE capacity,” the company said in a statement.

Qualcomm, which helped develop the concept in partnership with Verizon, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung, first demonstrated it to the public at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, and called it the next evolution in LTE Advanced technology. Meanwhile, LTE-U has been the subject of great controversy in the telecommunications industry as many tech companies and industry groups – among them Google, the Wi-Fi Alliance, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – voiced fears of interference by LTE-U equipment with traditional Wi-Fi service.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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