T-Mobile may be battling it out with competitors like AT&T and Verizon in a race to deploy License Assisted Access technology, but the Un-carrier has already beaten them to the punch with a different unlicensed boost: LTE-U.
The Un-carrier on Monday said LTE-U is already live for users with compatible handsets in six cities across the nation, including select locations in Bellevue, Wash.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Dearborn, Mich.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Richardson, Texas; and Simi Valley, Calif. More locations will be rolling out later this year, T-Mobile noted.
LTE-U allows T-Mobile to utilize 20 MHz of unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band to boost capacity and speeds where customer need it most.
The announcement marks an elaboration on comments from CTO Neville Ray during the Un-carrier’s first quarter 2017 earnings call. At the time, Ray indicated LTE-U was live in T-Mobile’s network in “a few locations,” but didn’t provide any specifics.
Ray added that both LTE-U and License Assisted Access (LAA) will be a “big deal” in terms of boosting the capacity and capability of wireless networks in 2018 and 2019, and said testing and trials of both technologies were ongoing.
Earlier this month, T-Mobile sought an extension from the FCC to continue testing of pre-commercial LTE-U equipment.
In its filing, the Un-carrier asked the Commission for permission to extend its testing of LTE-U equipment through December 28. According to the document, the tests will be conducted using 10 small cells operating on both AWS-1 spectrum and unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum in a downlink-only mode. The Un-carrier plans to carry out the trials in Dallas; Largo, Fla.; Montebello, Long Beach, and Los Angeles, Calif.; Lynnwood and Bellevue, Wash.; Stone Mountain and Alpharetta, Ga.; Dearborn, Mich.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Las Vegas.
T-Mobile said the field tests will help it test new products in a controlled environment outside the lab.
“T-Mobile is working with equipment vendors to conduct product testing of new LTE-U equipment,” the Un-carrier wrote. “The trials at the various locations listed below will allow T-Mobile to test prototype equipment in outdoor and indoor setting prior to equipment certification … Grant of an STA will help T-Mobile to develop and test innovative equipment to provide service to consumers.”
Filed Under: Infrastructure