Vodacom claimed a series of firsts for South Africa after achieving data rates of 650Mb/s during tests of LTE-Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) on its commercial network at its headquarters.
Adding to the operator’s bragging rights is the fact the test used a commercially available handset, a Motorola Z2 Force device, South African publication Mybroadband reported. The LAA trial is tipped as the first in the country to use four-carrier aggregation (4CA) in a live LTE network.
The operator combined 10MHz of its licensed 1800MHz spectrum with three blocks of 20MHz unlicensed 5GHz spectrum, the primary band used for the unlicensed element of LTE-LAA.
Vodacom’s trial also used 4×4 MIMO in the licensed portion of its spectrum, and 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) across all carriers, Mybroadband stated.
LTE-LAA brings licensed 4G spectrum together with unlicensed spectrum to deliver higher data rates by opening access to additional spectrum, and is considered a key technology in operators’ evolution to providing gigabit LTE speeds. LAA is configured to co-exist with other 5GHz technologies including Wi-Fi using a “listen before talk” feature to ensure fair use.
The South Africa-based operator is now preparing further LAA deployments. The company will reportedly initially target busy indoor locations including airports, shopping centres and offices, adding Vodacom will announce details of compatible handsets as the rollout progresses.