Small cells

T-Mobile Promises LTE-U Services in the Spring

T-Mobile says it will start using unlicensed LTE on its network this spring now that the FCC has finally approved LTE-U equipment for use in the US.

The FCC has approved 5GHz LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) equipment from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) for use on US networks. The government agency has been kicking the tires on the use of LTE-U since 2014. (See T-Mobile Sounds Off on Verizon 5G, LTE-U Frustrations and Operators, Vendors Advise FCC on LTE-U.)

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said recently that the operator will deploy 5GHz small cells to take advantage of 20MHz of unlicensed spectrum available. (See T-Mobile to Spend Up to $5.1B on LTE in 2017.)

One of the main concerns around LTE-U was that it would interfere with WiFi at 5GHz. T-Mobile insists -- in a statement -- that this won't be an issue:

    LTE-U devices and equipment intelligently tap into and share underutilized unlicensed spectrum without affecting other users on the same band, including those using conventional Wi-Fi. LTE-U constantly seeks the least utilized channels to maximize efficiency and performance for everyone. As demand on the Wi-Fi network increases, LTE-U backs off and as Wi-Fi demand wanes, customers can tap into that unused capacity for LTE.

Expect Verizon Wireless to follow with its own LTE-U plans soon. Potential alt-operators like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) might also take a look at 5GHz too. (See Google, LTE-U & the Question of a Wireless Broadband Future .)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 2/22/2017 | 3:07:12 PM
Qualcomm on LTE-U

Statement from Qualcomm's Dean Brenner:

"We are extremely pleased with today's FCC actions, which represent a major step forward for American consumers, demonstrate strong US leadership in mobile broadband, and recognize years of research and development and inventions by Qualcomm and its partners.  Today's FCC actions substantiate Qualcomm's deep technical collaboration with stakeholders from every facet of the wireless industry, including the cellular and Wi-Fi communities, in developing LTE Unlicensed to ensure that unlicensed spectrum remains open for permission-less innovation to enable faster, better mobile broadband and that new technologies will demonstrably co-exist successfully with incumbents."



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