T-Mobile Rolls Out LTE-U Support in Select Locations in the US

T-Mobile Rolls Out LTE-U Support in Select Locations in the US

T-Mobile yesterday announced that they’re  rolling out support for LTE-U in the select parts of the US. LTE Unlicenced (LTE-U), utilizes the 5GHz spectrum – commonly used by WiFi devices – to deliver a faster network experience. The way LTE-U works is quite simple: it combines licensed spectrum with the underutilized unlicensed spectrum (5GHz) to boost both network coverage and downlink speeds on supported devices.

Mobile network operators have long used Carrier Aggregation techniques (CA) to boost downlink and uplink speeds, but LTE-U promises to deliver even faster speeds and more bandwidth while still consuming less licensed spectrum. Carrier Aggregation and LTE-U follows the same principle of utilizing more than one network band to increase data throughput. The only difference between both is that where Carrier Aggregation only uses licensed spectrum, LTE-U combines both licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

LTE-U is now live in select locations in Bellevue, Washington; Brooklyn, New York; Dearborn, Michigan; Las Vegas, Nevada; Richardson, Texas, and Simi Valley, California, with the company planning to roll-out LTE-U support to more locations later this year.

T-Mobile is the first national wireless provider to make LTE-U available to customers. LTE-U uses publicly available 5 GHz airwaves to bolster existing LTE capacity and give a speed boost to what is already America’s fastest, most advanced 4G LTE network.

Of course, you’ll need a compatible device to take advantage of LTE-U network. As of now, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the only commercial device that supports LTE-U out of the box, however, you can expect the list of compatible devices to grow as more new devices hit the market with LTE-U support. Interestingly, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820/821 chipsets already support LTE-U and LTE-LAA so it’s also possible that OEMs could enable this functionality on their devices by issuing a firmware update.

Additionally, the Uncarrier also shared details regarding LTE License Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) which it plans to roll-out later this year. T-Mobile says LTE-LAA will allow greater Carrier Aggregation between licensed and unlicensed spectrum which, in turn, will make it possible to provide even more bandwidth and faster downloading speeds compared to LTE-U. T-Mobile claims that during their field testing of LTE-LAA in Los Angeles they were able to achieve a blazing fast download speed of 741 Mbps.

Source: T-Mobile US

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