LTE–U Forum Explores Technical Possibilities of LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum

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NEW YORK – The LTE-U Forum -- formed in 2014 by Verizon in cooperation with Alcatel-Lucent; Ericsson; Qualcomm Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated; and Samsung -- said today it has released its first technical report evaluating the use of LTE in unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U), an important step toward demonstrating how LTE-U can coexist with Wi-Fi and other technologies that share unlicensed spectrum.

The Forum’s technical specifications include: minimum performance specifications for operating LTE-U base stations and consumer devices on unlicensed frequencies in the 5 GHz band, and coexistence specifications. The specifications support LTE operation in the 5 GHz UNII-1 and UNII-3 bands, in conjunction with an LTE deployment in licensed bands. LTE-U is in full compliance with FCC regulations.

LTE-U extends the benefits of LTE and LTE Advanced to unlicensed spectrum, enabling mobile operators to offload data traffic onto unlicensed frequencies more efficiently and effectively. With LTE-U, operators can offer consumers a more robust and seamless mobile broadband experience with better coverage and faster download speeds. 

“Verizon has long been a leader in LTE, with the largest, most reliable 4G LTE network in the United States that consumers rely on every day where they work, live and play,” said Ed Chan, senior vice president of network technology and planning for Verizon. “With LTE-U, we believe we’ll be able to leverage every available technology to help deliver more connectivity for customers.”

The Forum worked extensively to develop specifications for implementing LTE-U to coexist with Wi-Fi and other technologies. 

“Unlicensed spectrum is designed to promote innovation and choices for consumers.  Today, unlicensed spectrum is shared by a wide variety of technologies and products, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cordless phones, baby monitors, and garage door openers.  With the release of the Forum’s report, Verizon looks forward to working with the unlicensed community to ensure that consumers can choose the best connectivity available to meet their needs without negatively impacting other unlicensed users” said Chan. 

Neville Meijers, vice president, small cells, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., said, “The LTE-U Forum has been instrumental in determining the specifications for LTE-U implementation. By combining the capabilities of LTE in the licensed spectrum with LTE-U and Wi-Fi, we believe the connectivity options to consumers and enterprises alike will be superior.”

The following Forum documents are now available to download at:

  • Technical report (TR) including methodology, deployment scenarios and observations from comprehensive network simulation-based technology evaluations.
  • Small cell and user equipment minimum performance specifications.
  • Coexistence specifications to ensure fair sharing of spectrum between LTE-U and Wi-Fi, as well as between LTE-U operators.

Small cell and user equipment conformance specifications will be available at a later date.

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