Verizon, T-Mobile shifting unlicensed focus from LTE-U to LAA

16 Nov 2017

US giant Verizon has confirmed it is shifting its unlicensed wireless spectrum technology focus away from LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) towards Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), echoing recent statements from rival T-Mobile US, adding that the main reasons for the move are regulatory control of the technology through standards and broader adoption of the LAA ecosystem. In August Verizon demoed mobile data speeds of 953Mbps via LAA with carrier aggregation (CA), 4×4 MIMO and 256QAM technology, whilst LAA device and additional field testing are ongoing under a plan for full-scale network deployments in 2018, initially concentrated in high traffic areas and in-building small cells. Four LAA-capable devices are scheduled for release by end-2017 and a number of existing devices can be LAA-enabled via software upgrade, Verizon executives told Mobile World Live, noting that LTE-U is currently not activated in the commercial Verizon network, whilst only one device operating on the network supports LTE-U.

T-Mobile US previously launched LTE-U services in six cities before switching focus to LAA development, whilst AT&T is also developing LAA, recently integrating the technology’s usage with CA/MIMO to achieve 750Mbps speeds.

United States, T-Mobile US, Verizon Wireless