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AT&T, Ericsson, Qualcomm demo LAA small cell

LAA demonstration, which builds on field tests, is set for Mobile World Congress Americas

Earlier this year AT&T worked with infrastructure vendor Ericsson on a field trial of License Assisted Access (LAA), which aggregates licensed and unlicensed spectrum to create a wider data channel, which, in turn, increases potential transmission speeds. During the San Francisco, Calif., testing, AT&T reported hitting speeds in the 750 Mbps range.

In combination with 256 QAM, 4X4 MIMO and carrier aggregation, LAA is seen as a key lever operators can pull to deliver gigabit LTE as they evolve their networks toward an ultimate 5G NR standard. Next week, during the Mobile World Congress Americas show, set to kick off in San Francisco on Sept. 12, AT&T, Ericsson and Qualcomm are planning a gigabit LTE demonstration using an Ericsson small cell and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile platform an integrated X16 LTE modem.

Qualcomm’s Sherif Hanna, in an interview with RCR Wireless News, said the demo would compare performance of the Note 8 connected to the small cell using LAA compared to a Cat 12 device that can’t tap into unlicensed spectrum. “There’s a vast difference in the download speeds between the two,” he said. “The Note 8 can tap into all the spectrum the small cell makes available.”

Hanna explained that LAA plays a key role in allowing a broad swath of operators to offer gigabit LTE services. Essentially, not too many players have enough licensed spectrum to push that kind of data rate, so it becomes imperative to start tapping into unlicensed bands.

“We knew it would be a key enabler for operators that have limited spectrum holdings or fragmented spectrum holdings,” Hanna said. “LTE in unlicensed spectrum technologies like LAA are kind of the lynchpin that will allow operators to deploy gigabit LTE. With LAA, which is freely available, the vast majority of the operators in the world can now deploy gigabit LTE.”

Noting that market traction around gigabit LTE is “going gangbusters,” Hanna tallied 38 operators trialling or deploying the tech in 23 countries; that includes the four major U.S. operators. In terms of device support, all the compatible smartphones on the market use Qualcomm chipsets.






Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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