by Richard Handford
Ericsson has developed technology that enables 4G services to be delivered via unlicensed spectrum on small cells — a move it claimed will boost indoor coverage.
The vendor said it will offer small cells based on its License Assisted Access (LAA) technology starting in the fourth quarter of this year.
And T-Mobile US has already put its hand up as an early adopter by saying it plans a production trial in 2015.
LAA is an LTE-Advanced technology enabling carrier aggregation of licensed and unlicensed bands to address users’ indoor requirements, particularly for accessing data services.
Ericsson claims LAA is the first time that smartphone users will benefit from concurrent access to both licensed and unlicensed spectrum.
“There’s approximately 550 MHz of underutilised spectrum in the 5 GHz Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (UNII) band and LAA is one of the technologies we plan to develop and use in our continuing efforts to provide our customers with superior network performance,” said Neville Ray, CTO of T-Mobile US.
Using only 4 per cent of the 5 GHz band, LAA can provide up to a 150 Mb/s speed increase to smartphone users, according to Ericsson.
And each additional 4 per cent of available spectrum used will increase the smartphone data speed further.
The company’s LAA technology also incorporates so-called fair sharing within the 5 GHz band, with the aim of accommodating traditional Wi-Fi users. Fair sharing works on the principle that Wi-Fi and LAA users would have equal access to the spectrum.