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25 February 2017, 12:30 | Muriel Sparks
T-Mobile to launch LTE-U in the Spring of 2017 By Ida Torres
Building on its track-record of launching advanced technologies first, T-Mobile is now deploying LTE-U technology in its LTE network, following today's FCC certification of equipment from strategic partners Nokia and Ericsson. Doubtlessly, once the switches are flipped on the base stations and LTE-U compatibility begins to spread, some users will at least consider unlawfully unlocking the capability by modifying their existing devices. It will also provide a basis for T-Mobile's plans to blanket the country with Gigabit LTE. Just keep in mind that you're going to need a device that supports LTE-U in order to take advantage of its benefits.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that the unlicensed spectrum - historically, the territory of Wi-Fi - can now be used to help ease the load on carrier mobile networks. These devices cannot invade now used airwaves, but can claim them and keep Wi-Fi devices from using them, which means that the 5 gigahertz spectrum area could become just a bit more congested in some areas depending on how many LTE-U devices are around.
T-Mobile plans to launch LTE-U technology this spring.
The Federal Communications Commission said it would open up currently-unlicensed airwaves for use by new 4G LTE wireless devices known as LTE-U (for "unlicensed").
Incumbent carriers supporting LTE-U believe the two can coexist without interference, but Google, Microsoft, and others are skeptical. While this move does not support any handsets on the market right now in their current form, future phones will be certified to draw LTE signal from 5 gigahertz spectrum that is currently unused in the area. T-Mobile already has more capacity per subscriber than AT&T and Verizon, and the addition of LTE-U will only extend that lead and further improve the Un-carrier's blazing-fast speeds. VZ, +0.49% and T-Mobile US Inc. "The use of this technology will bring an even better customer experience while using LTE", Glenn Laxdal, head of Network Products for Ericsson North America, commented.
In particular, the fight has pitted cable companies - whose customers rely on Wi-Fi routers to connect to the internet - against cellular carriers whose users are consuming an ever growing amount of mobile data.
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