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Verizon & Friends Bust Through Gigabit LTE in the Lab

Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm said Monday that they have hit 1.07 Gbit/s in Gigabit LTE tests in the lab, as the operator readies for commercial launch sometime this year.

The trio are claiming an "industry first" breaking through the Gigabit speed barrier in an Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) lab test. The test used a Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) Snapdragon TMX20 LTE modem, which supports so-called category 18 LTE speeds.

The companies reached 1.07 Gbit/s by using 12 simultaneous LTE streams on three bonded 20MHz channels (3CA). Ericsson says its radio system and LTE software -- along with the X20 modem -- allowed the test system an "up to 20 percent increase in peak data rates and capacity with a corresponding improvement in average speeds," the Swedish vendor says in a statement.

Operators' tests of "Gigabit LTE" have mostly achieved speeds of more than 700 Mbit/s on the downloads. Consumers, however, won't see anything like 1 Gbit/s on real-life networks. As compatible devices arrive, users will likely see speeds between 100 and 300 Mbit/s, depending on network conditions, in other words, more than triple the download speeds of most LTE devices on the network today. (See Gigabit LTE Takes to the Air and When Is a Gig Not a Gig? When It's Gigabit LTE!)

In the lab, the 1.07 Gbit/s speeds were achieved using licensed spectrum band combinations with the now typical Gigabit LTE laundry list of 4x4 multiple input, multiple output antennas (MIMO) and 256 QAM modulation of each carrier (radio) signal.

Verizon is clearly preparing to launch Gigabit LTE in as-yet unknown markets in the US. The carrier sent Light Reading a a Gigabit LTE-capable device, the Motorola Z2 Play, last week to check out. The rep noted, however, that Big Red hasn't deployed Gigabit LTE "just yet."

Verizon has so far committed to deploying Gigabit LTE using a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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