MWC 2015: T-Mobile US and Nokia to boost 4G small cell deployment with LAA

Nokia Networks and T-Mobile plan to accelerate Licensed Assisted Access deployment using unlicensed 5GHz spectrum to provide more LTE capacity indoors and outdoors

MWC 2015: T-Mobile US and Nokia to boost 4G small cell deployment with LAA

Nokia Networks and T-Mobile US are developing a pre-standards LAA (also referred to as LTE-U) solution that will allow the wireless provider to be an early adopter of this innovative technology.

At Mobile World Congress, Nokia Networks will demonstrate the capabilities of LAA, using its Nokia Flexi Zone small cells technology, currently deployed by T-Mobile to enhance the mobile broadband capacity of its rapidly growing 4G LTE network. The demonstration will include carrier aggregation between LTE in licensed and unlicensed spectrum and the technology's co-existence with Wi-Fi.

Unlicensed spectrum can boost capacity of LTE and improve performance

With LAA, users will benefit from the additional capacity available from the unlicensed spectrum, particularly in hotspots and indoor locations.

The 5 GHz frequency band, typically used for Wi-Fi today, can uniquely complement licensed LTE bands, and LTE can provide better spectrum efficiency than current technologies on that band. Additionally, LAA brings all of LTE's efficiencies and seamless mobility to the unlicensed band while ensuring smooth co-existence with Wi-Fi services.

Carrier aggregation between LTE in licensed and unlicensed spectrum provides customers guaranteed service quality and boosts overall performance where needed.

Demonstration details:

  • A prototype will show LAA live to demonstrate its features and ability to co-exist in a single box with a licensed LTE small cell solution.
  • It will use Nokia Flexi Zone small cells technology, currently deployed by T-Mobile.
  • The demonstration will showcase co-existence with Wi-Fi, operating on the same frequency band with LAA.

LAA is planned for 3GPP industry standardisation in mid-2016. Nokia Networks plans to integrate LAA capabilities into its small cell portfolio at the end of 2015.

Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile, said: "LAA is an attractive solution to tap the unused potential of the 5 GHz band to give our customers LTE efficiencies and smooth co-existence with Wi-Fi. Nokia Networks' early demo not only shows the next generation of small cells, but is a critical first step to staying ahead of the increasing LTE capacity demand.

“Our mission is giving our customers better mobile performance and capacity when and where they need it the most. This demo is a testament to Nokia's ability to innovate quickly and bring products to market when we need them."

Ricky Corker, Executive Vice President of North America, Nokia Networks, said: "We're delighted to contribute to the standardization of this technology and, at the same time, innovate by building LAA readiness into our Flexi Zone small cell technology. Our demonstration proves Nokia Networks' ability to collaborate with industry innovators like T-Mobile to bring breakthrough technology quickly to market to address real world network challenges."

LTE for the unlicensed band will rely on the existing LTE core network, using the existing security and authentication framework. This means that no changes in the core network domain will be required, Nokia pointed out.

 

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