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T-Mobile announces LTE-U, bringing additional LTE capacity this spring
US carriers are busy announcing their future plans for faster networks: Verizon and AT&T both have their “5G” networks, and Sprint will be demonstrating its Gigabit LTE this weekend. So what about the magenta network? T-Mobile just announced its plans to deploy LTE-U technology starting this spring, which means customers will have access to additional LTE capacity.
The FCC just approved LTE-U or LTE in unlicensed spectrum: essentially, it would allow carriers to boost their network coverage by using the unlicensed 5Ghz band that many Wi-Fi networks rely on. Of course, some argued that this would interfere with existing Wi-Fi networks and slow them down, but according to studies done by Qualcomm – as well as T-Mobile – that is not the case.
LTE-U would allow carriers to boost their network coverage by using the unlicensed 5Ghz band that many Wi-Fi networks rely on.
According to the Un-carrier, it started development and testing of LTE-U equipment as early field trials as early as last year, and the recent approval follows years of extensive research. The result is that once it’s incorporated into its existing LTE network this spring, customers will be able to tap into the first 20MHz of underutilized and unlicensed spectrum on the 5GHz band:
Un-carrier is now deploying LTE-U technology in its LTE network, following today’s FCC certification of equipment from strategic partners Ericsson and Nokia. This move paves the way for the Un-carrier to introduce new network capabilities and devices for consumers this spring… 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.
The Un-carrier also notes that LTE-U will “make it possible for T-Mobile to bring its forthcoming Gigabit LTE to more places across the country.”
Verizon is also planning on activating LTE-U although when exactly is still unknown. Though it remains to be seen just how effective LTE-U will be, the basic principle is that end users would have a more robust and seamless experience when using cellular networks.
What do you think about FCC’s ruling today? Do you think LTE-U will significantly improve data traffic? Let us know by leaving a comment below!