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Turkey becomes site of first LAA-ready commercial network

Huawei Vodafone LAA

Vodafone Arena in Istanbul © Huawei

  • Limited network deployment around the Vodafone Turkey Arena stadium
  • Collaboration between Huawei, Vodafone and Qualcomm
  • Peak download speeds of 370Mbit/s with three carrier aggregation
  • Higher spectral efficiency with LAA over 40MHz than with WiFi

Huawei, Vodafone and Qualcomm have announced that they have collaborated on a project in Turkey to create the world's first network ready to use License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, based on the 3GPP Release 13 standard. The LAA-ready network was tested using a Huawei Lampsite base station in Vodafone Turkey’s Arena Store in Istanbul. It used 40MHz of unlicensed spectrum in 5GHz and 15MHz licensed spectrum in 2.6GHz for three carrier aggregation. The on-site peak download speed of 370Mbit/s was achieved using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with X16 LTE mobile test device.

According to the partners, the on-site test showed that the spectral efficiency of LAA is higher than WiFi when using the same 40MHz of spectrum. The test also showed that an LAA network can fairly coexist with WiFi technology by supporting the 3GPP Rel-13 standard for “listen before talk” technology. 3GPP’s LAA specification was finalised in March last year and consumers can expect smartphones with support for LAA sometime later this year.

“LAA technology will help Vodafone to improve the experience our customers have,” said Santiago Tenorio, Head of Networks for Vodafone Group. “The LAA network fully reuses the existing core network, network management system and accounting system we use for 4G, and so will effectively improve our return on investment.”

“For the spectrum, the industry has two main demands – the most important one is to promote continuous innovation in the industrial chain to enhance the overall efficiency of spectrum utilisation, and to provide better experience of connectivity," said Ryan Ding, President of Huawei Products and Solutions. "Faced with the large amount of unlicensed spectrum resources which are not fully used, Huawei and industry partners are using LAA technology to extend the LTE system to unlicensed band, which can help operators to improve the resources efficiency of unlicensed spectrum, and to improve network capacity of hotspot, and to ease the shortage of spectrum resources.”

“We are very pleased to deliver the first commercial LAA deployment,” added Enrico Salvatori, SVP and President of Qualcomm EMEA. “Use of unlicensed spectrum will become an increasingly important part of technology strategy as we move towards Gigabit LTE and 5G and we have shown that LAA can deliver on those promises today.”

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