Qualcomm Technologies, T-Mobile US and Alcatel-Lucent today (2 March 2015) announced that they are enabling the extension of LTE to unlicensed spectrum with upcoming Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) deployment plans.
Following its trials of this LTE Advanced capability in 5GHz, T-Mobile will be one of the first carriers to deploy LAA in 2016. Alcatel-Lucent will begin trials this year with LTE-U enabled small cells using Qualcomm Technologies' FSM99xx family of small cell system-on-chip (SoC) solutions, with commercial products expected in 2016.
"With T-Mobile's commitment to bringing LAA benefits to customers in the near future, we're looking forward to seeing both Alcatel-Lucent's and Qualcomm Technologies' LTE-U demonstrations at Mobile World Congress that show co-existence with Wi-Fi, which is critical for this technology to succeed," said Neville Ray, chief technology officer, T-Mobile. "The LAA ecosystem is coming together with innovative development from numerous partners to enable utilization of the 5GHz unlicensed bands."
As mobile data demand continues to grow for both licensed and unlicensed bands, the overlap and co-existence of Wi-Fi and cellular data become more important for the industry. Seamlessly integrating licensed and unlicensed band operation brings the benefits of cellular to unlicensed spectrum and delivers data speeds at rates more than two times faster than LTE alone.
"Alcatel-Lucent is committed to working with lead-adopter operators to prove that unlicensed spectrum can be used to significantly enhance the service provided over cellular networks without compromising Wi-Fi performance," said Mike Schabel, vice president of small cells, Alcatel-Lucent.
"At Mobile World Congress, we are demonstrating our commercial commitment to blending Wi-Fi and cellular networks, including LAA, with our newly launched Wireless Unified Networks strategy."
Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies will conduct LTE-U trials beginning in the second half of this year using Alcatel-Lucent's small cell portfolio based on Qualcomm Technologies' FSM99xx family of small cell chipsets. Commercial products are scheduled for shipment in the first half of 2016.
"Trials and commitments from leading companies, such as Alcatel-Lucent and T-Mobile, are solid steps to prove industry readiness and adoption of LTE-U," said Neville Meijers, vice president of business development at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.