T-Mobile US broke the 1Gb/s mark in a recent lab test with Ericsson in what the operator said was a first using unlicensed spectrum.
The operator reported it hit a peak speed of 1.1Gb/s in its Bellvue, Washington lab using 12-layer Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology alongside 256QAM and 4×4 MIMO. T-Mobile aggregated two licensed carriers alongside three unlicensed carriers on Ericsson’s radio system to pass the gigabit mark.
Ericsson’s Radio 2205 enables deployment of LTE on the 5GHz unlicensed band, and allows aggregation of these carriers with licensed carriers on cells nearby.
T-Mobile noted LAA had previously been demonstrated using ten layers to reach speeds of up to 1Gb/s, but said the move up to 12 layers allowed it to exceed the gigabit milestone.
“This LAA technology builds upon our deployments of 4×4 MIMO and 256QAM and will give customers even greater access to near gigabit speeds in 2018,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement.
In November, both T-Mobile and rival Verizon representatives told Mobile World Live the operators are shifting their focus on unlicensed from LTE-U to LAA.
T-Mobile VP of Network Engineering Mark McDiarmid revealed the operator is planning to upgrade its LTE-U base stations and user devices to LAA, and is also deploying LAA as part of a small cell densification effort. Using modular small cells, McDiarmid said T-Mobile will be able to pack two bands of licensed spectrum alongside LAA in each installation.
Verizon isn’t far behind: the operator hit 953Mb/s in its own LAA tests in August, and told Mobile World Live deployments of LAA technology will get underway in earnest in 2018.