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FCC Gives Verizon and Qualcomm Permission to Test LTE-U

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Feb 1, 2016, 8:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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. Verizon, Qualcomm, and other companies in the cellular industry believe using LTE-U, rather than WiFi, in unlicensed spectrum can lead to better use of those airwaves for connecting devices. The WiFi Alliance and other companies in the WiFi industry believe LTE-U may result in interference and are interested in protecting what they view as their turf. The purpose of the LTE-U tests is to determine how well the technology works, and to gauge any potential for interference. "The success of the unlicensed bands as laboratories of innovation is largely the result of industry-driven coordination and we believe that this development is an encouraging step in continuing that success," said the FCC. The agency said there are many steps to complete before it will allow LTE-U to reach consumer devices, which will need to be tested and certified as safe just as all other wireless devices are tested. Verizon and Qualcomm are expected to share the results of their testing with the FCC for further evaluation.


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