Mobile rolls out LTE-U support in six cities

Neville Ray

LAA enables carrier aggregation than LTE-U, enabling mobile operators to combine larger amounts of unlicensed and licensed spectrum. In addition to that, T-Mobile became the first USA carrier to test the related LAA technology.

AT&T and T-Mobile US are both pushing ahead with the use of unlicensed spectrum at 5 GHz, and the results of field tests show that T-Mobile US is edging out AT&T in terms of speed. If youre anxious about your 5GHz Wi-Fi, LAA is created to play nice with existing wireless tech on the same band by following the “listen-before-talk” protocol. LAA and LTE-U use underutilized spectrum and other users on the same band, including Wi-Fi users, are unaffected. LTE Unlicenced (LTE-U), utilizes the 5GHz spectrum - commonly used by WiFi devices - to deliver a faster network experience. More locations will be rolling out later this year, T-Mobile noted. T-Mobile US reported that it achieved 741 megabits per second speeds in the downlink using License-Assisted Access and 80 megahertz of aggregated spectrum, while AT&T laid claim to speeds of around 650 Mbps. The neat thing about LTE-U is that users do not have to configure anything on their compatible smartphone, it just works. T-Mobile LTE-U is live in select locations in Bellevue, WA; Brooklyn, NY; Dearborn, MI; Las Vegas, NV; Richardson, TX; and Simi Valley, CA.

T-Mobile said the field tests will help it test new products in a controlled environment outside the lab. And, of course, T-Mobile is once again first to use this LTE Advanced technology. This will include the use of small cells, which carry LAA functionality. While our competitors scramble to deal with the way unlimited data plans are slowing down their networks, we're already moving on to what's next.

T-Mobile likes to talk up its network enhancements, and today the magenta carrier made two more announcements.