AT&T Finally Using WCS Spectrum for LTE; Will Test LTE-U
AT&T has begun deploying LTE on its 2.3GHz WCS spectrum in a handful of markets around the country. Earlier this year, AT&T said it would begin the deployment by summer, and it is just meeting that commitment. Phones with LTE band 30 are able to take advantage of the new network capacity. AT&T did not specify which markets are gaining WCS coverage, nor how quickly it will build out coverage around the country. AT&T is, however, expected to start with markets that have more capacity requirements. The WCS spectrum is helpful in adding capacity in markets that rely chiefly on 700MHz for LTE. In a separate announcement, AT&T said it plans to begin trailing LTE-U technology late this year or early next year. LTE-U delivers LTE over unlicensed spectrum normally reserved for WiFi. Tom Keathley, senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design with AT&T, said the carrier will use the tests to determine whether or not it will deploy LTE-U on a broader scale. "There will be no devices until early next year anyway," said Keathley to Fierce Wireless. "So the timing is reasonable." One issue facing LTE-U is sharing the spectrum in a way that's fair. AT&T said it wants assurances that it will be able to avoid interference before committing to LTE-U in a meaningful way. Critics of LTE-U, however, worry that carriers will have too much control over the balance of spectrum used for LTE when compared to the amount reserved for WiFi. T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are also exploring LTE-U.
AT&T Targeting Summer Launch for LTE in WCS Spectrum
AT&T plans to begin deploying LTE service in its 2.3GHz WCS spectrum holdings this summer. AT&T acquired some WCS spectrum from NextWave in 2012 and more from Sprint in 2014.
T-Mobile Rolling Out LTE-U
T-Mobile today said it is beginning to upgrade its 4G network with LTE-U this spring. LTE-U allows LTE to operate on the unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band, which is typically reserved for WiFi.
Qualcomm's Next Target Is Unlicensed LTE Over 5GHz
Qualcomm today announced its initial foray with LTE into the unlicensed 5GHz band, spectrum that is normally reserved for WiFi networks. Qualcomm believes LTE-U, or LTE in unlicensed spectrum, could help carriers fill in blank spots with small cells.
T-Mobile Hits 741 Mbps with LTE-LAA, Deploys LTE-U
T-Mobile today said it, too, has successfully tested LTE-LAA in real-world trials. The company claims its LTE-LAA tests reached 741 Mbps in and around Los Angeles.
FCC Gives Verizon and Qualcomm Permission to Test LTE-U
The FCC is allowing Verizon and Qualcomm to move forward with limited tests of LTE in unlicensed spectrum bands generally reserved for WiFi. Specifically, the companies are being allowed to perform small-scale tests at two Verizon facilities, one in Oklahoma City, Okla., and the other in Raleigh, N.C.