Mobile launching LTE-U in spring 2017 to increase LTE capacity

T-Mobile said it will be working with Ericsson and Nokia to use LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) spectrum.

The FCC said yesterday that it had authorized some LTE-U devices for use in unlicensed portions of the 5 GHz band. However, an industry fight has been set off by the plan to bring LTE to unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum.

If the phone is new, it might be already supported with LTE-U on the hardware level, at least. Letting LTE operate on WiFi and Bluetooth's usual turf, the thinking goes, could lead to overcrowding and slow down other connected devices. "T-Mobile's built a track record of introducing new innovations first, including deploying more LTE Advanced technologies than anyone in the US".

Verizon, for what it's worth, says all of its LTE-U vendors will comply with the plan from now on. "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 grants issued today are for the ability for the devices to operate under Part 15 rules in the 5 GHz band". "I remain committed to ensuring a competitive and vibrant unlicensed ecosystem that fosters innovation and promotes the efficient use of spectrum".

"It means [consumers] get to enjoy the best of both worlds: a more robust, seamless experience when their devices are using cellular networks and the continued enjoyment of WiFi, one of the most creative uses of spectrum in history", added FCC Chairman Pai.

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Minutes later, T-Mobile announced that thanks to the decision, it will begin rolling out LTE-U devices within a matter of months.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray originally said he hoped to deploy the technology in 2016, but was forced to wait for the release of the LTE-U interoperability standards from the Wi-Fi Alliance.

T-Mobile has spent three years of "extensive research, development, and testing" to make sure that this new technology can still work with others like Wi-Fi. The move, T-Mobile said, will enable the carrier to bring its forthcoming Gigabit LTE service to more markets across the country down the line.

"This is a great deal for wireless consumers, too".

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