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Ericsson and Qualcomm receive operator support for License Assisted Access


© Ericsson

After announcing their collaboration at last month’s CES show in Las Vegas, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies are now demonstrating License Assisted Access (LAA) technology at Ericsson Labs in Stockholm. LAA is also now being called LTE-U, as in LTE unlicensed, referring to the aggregation of licensed cellular and unlicensed spectrum.

The two companies believe LAA will improve indoor app coverage for smartphone users, and have achieved peak data rates up to 450Mbit/s with their trials. It should also better balance spectrum use between mobile and Wi-Fi devices.

Verizon, SK Telecom and T-Mobile US are amongst those operators investigating the performance benefits that Ericsson’s and Qualcomm’s LAA can offer to mobile customers on their networks, as they evolve their networks towards future 5G architectures.

“SK Telecom is very active in the development of 5G technologies, which will be an extension and evolution of our LTE network,” explained Park Jin-hyo, SVP and Head of Network Technology R&D Centre at SK Telecom. “We are delighted to achieve the successful trial of the 450Mbit/s LAA and fair-sharing technology with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies and will continue to work closely with them to secure advanced network technologies.”

LAA technology uses the licensed cellular band to provide an anchor to ensure a seamless user experience with full mobility, while the Wi-Fi unlicensed band provides incremental capacity and enables faster data speeds. Fair sharing works on the principle that Wi-Fi and LAA users would have equal access to the spectrum.

“It is very encouraging to see LAA live in the Ericsson labs already delivering on the promises of both a better mobile broadband customer experience and the fair sharing and co-existence within the 5GHz band among wireless and Wi-Fi devices,” added Neville Ray, CTO of T-Mobile. “With over 500MHz of underutilised spectrum in the 5GHz Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (UNII) band, LAA can provide our customers with superior network performance while effectively co-existing with other Wi-Fi devices to ensure a better experience for all wireless users.”

The lab trials of LAA fair sharing and licensed-unlicensed aggregation used 20MHz on the licensed band and 40MHz on the unlicensed 5GHz band. Later this year, Ericsson plans to add LAA to its indoor small cell portfolio, including its picocell product and its Radio Dot System for medium and large buildings.

“Carrier Aggregation was an important technology trend for mobile networks in 2014 and LAA is already set to be a key focus for mobile operators in 2015,” said Thomas Norén, VP and Head of Radio Product Management at Ericsson.

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