Russian wireless giant Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has announced the launch of what it claims is ‘Eastern Europe’s first commercial Gigabit Class LTE-Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) network’. The service, which went live in the city of Ufa in the Republic of Bashkortostan, delivered downlink transmission speeds of 979Mbps at the Planeta retail outlet.
The network was deployed in conjunction with vendors Ericsson and Qualcomm, and aggregated a 20MHz block of licensed 1800MHz spectrum (including 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM functionality) alongside 3x 20MHz blocks of unlicensed 5GHz spectrum (2×2 MIMO, 256 QAM).
TeleGeography notes that LTE-LAA was standardised by industry body the 3GPP (as part of Release 13). It uses carrier aggregation (CA) in the downlink to combine LTE technology using unlicensed spectrum (5GHz band) with LTE in the licensed band. It has been suggested that a mobile operator using LAA can support Gigabit Class LTE using as little as 20MHz of licensed spectrum.