FCC Approves LTE-U Devices That Share 5GHz Spectrum With Wi-Fi

25 February, 2017, 00:31 | Author: Rachel Hardy

"Verizon is excited about today's announcement from the FCC that it has granted the first authorizations for LTE-U equipment", Will Johnson, Verizon senior vice president of federal regulatory and legal affairs, said. LTE-U conducts a search but will broadcast immediately on the least-congested frequency instead of waiting for an open channel.

LTE-U is so called because it refers to a spectrum that is now unlicensed. T-Mobile said tapping into the newly available spectrum will help it deliver faster "gigabit LTE" to more people, too. Thanks to LTE-U technology, T-Mobile customers will be able to take advantage of "underutilized unlicensed spectrum" on the 5GHz band. LTE-U lets carriers boost coverage by using the 5GHz band commonly used by Wi-Fi devices. On Wednesday, the Bellevue-based mobile service provider announced the deployment of a new technology called LTE-U, and it's hoping that it'll provide a greater edge over competitors like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint when it comes to network capabilities.

T-Mobile has announced that it will be the first United States carrier to begin offering LTE-U support later this spring.

"The addition of LTE-U will only extend (our) lead and further improve the Un-carrier's blazing-fast speeds", T-Mobile said in a statement.

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Pai is seen to be close with some of the industries the FCC is supposed to regulate - more so than outgoing chair Tom Wheeler, who had urged the various parties in the LTE-U debate to work together, rather than risk government regulatory intervention.

Pai added that industry testing "demonstrated that both these [LTE-U] devices and Wi-Fi operations can co-exist..."

Aside from equipment vendors like Ericsson and Nokia, the only companies likely to greet the news of LTE-Us approval with enthusiasm are the carriers themselves and Qualcomm, which essentially invented the technology. Naturally, the new LTE-U technology will require LTE-U capable devices as well.

The Un-carrier has actually been testing LTE-U equipment since late a year ago, but now that the FCC has agreed that LTE-U can work in tandem with Wi-Fi technologies, the floodgates have been opened.

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