Carriers who were pushing hard for LTE-U last year have been pretty quiet on the subject since the coexistence standards were released in September, but T-Mobile this week confirmed it is still actively pursuing the technology.
A T-Mobile spokesman on Tuesday told Wireless Week the Un-carrier is still working toward the launch of both LTE-U and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) as part of its effort to “provide the best services to our users.”
“Both of these technologies are exciting innovations that will help increase network efficiency and throughput speeds, enabling customers with the right handset(s) to see average download speeds increase by 50-100 percent when connected to base stations with this technology implementation,” the spokesperson commented.
While T-Mobile is head down on work to hit gigabit speeds using licensed spectrum this year, the spokesman said LAA offers operators another path to reach increased speeds.
The spokesman, though, indicated the Un-carrier has no plans to pursue MulteFire technology, specifications for which was released earlier this month. Like LTE-U, MulteFire’s Release 1.0 allows for the use of LTE technology in unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band, but does not require an anchor in licensed spectrum.
T-Mobile’s ongoing interest in LTE-U comes as little surprise given it was one of the carriers that lobbied hardest for the timely release of the WiFi coexistence test plan from the Wi-Fi Alliance.
In striving toward deployment of LTE-U, T-Mobile will be up against rival carrier Verizon, which also expressed strong interest in using the technology. Following the spec release in September, Verizon said it was “eager to deploy LTE-U and bring the benefits of this new technology to our customers.”
Back at CES 2016, Qualcomm Vice President of Small Cells Neville Meijers told Wireless Week it was working with Verizon to make it the first carrier to commercially deploy LTE-U technology on its network.
On Wednesday, a Verizon spokesman said the carrier is testing LTE-U equipment now, and has a clear migration path to LAA. Verizon is planning to deploy LAA later this year, he said.
Filed Under: Infrastructure