T-Mobile Starts Rolling Out LTE-U

Posted by at 9:11 am on February 23, 2017

T-Mobile 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.

Devices equipped with LTE-U will take advantage of available 5 GHz spectrum when needed to boost speed and capacity. If or when that 5 GHz spectrum experiences an uptick in WiFi use, the LTE-U devices will scale back their presence on the unlicensed spectrum and return to T-Mobile’s cellular network for coverage.

T-Mobile is using equipment from Ericsson and Nokia for their LTE-U system.

At the same time, the FCC has approved the first devices to operate on LTE-U. The FCC’s chief concern is that LTE-U doesn’t interfere with the WiFi operation of 5 GHz equipment in the shared spectrum. The LTE-U Forum, WiFi Alliance, and myriad other technology players have helped shape LTE-U over the last few years.

T-Mobile expects LTE-U to help it eventually deliver gigabit speeds over its wireless network. T-Mobile didn’t say what mobile devices might have access to LTE-U once it goes live.

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