T Mobile LTE 230T-Mobile's main focus for 2018 was to be LTE-LAA, Mark McDiarmid, VP of network engineering told Monica Alleven at Fierce. In December, 2017, CTO Neville Ray promised they "will give customers even greater access to near gigabit speeds in 2018." They had just demonstrated speeds of 1.1 Gbps with Ericsson. (At end.) In February of 2018, T-Mobile proudly announced

Speeds of 1.3 Gbps were achieved by aggregating LTE carriers in licensed and unlicensed bands using five-component carrier aggregation, 256QAM, 4x4 MIMO and LAA on 14 antenna layers. 

Even without LAA, five-component carrier aggregation, 256QAM, 4x4 MIMO  is called "Gig LTE." Peak speeds can go up to 2 gigabits, but typical user seeds will be in hundreds. Update May 5: I'm sure people in Seattle are regretting their many comments about LTE, claiming results nearly the same as they expect from 5G NR in 600 MHz. Yet this Saturday, Tmo CTO Neville Ray tweeted about their LTE 

 @NevilleRay
Our network team added lowband LTE to 100s of sites in just two weeks, which means more and better coverage. And !!
You can expect another capacity upgrade announcement like this in a couple weeks.
But for D.C., he played loyal soldier.

The New would significantly enhance our network with immediate customer benefits like speed, coverage & capacity as we build a nationwide 5G network that puts the US in a 5G leadership position. Incredible potential! Key info below.

T-Mobile, Ericsson exceed 1 Gbps with LAA demo

 

The demonstration was performed in T-Mobile’s lab using Ericsson Radio System together with test gear from Cobham Wireless

T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) have achieved speeds of 1.1 Gbps using 12-layer Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology – the first in the world to hit speeds beyond the 1 Gbps threshold on unlicensed spectrum. 

Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile, says: “T-Mobile has built the nation’s fastest LTE network by innovating and bringing new technologies to market for our customers. This LAA technology builds upon our deployments of 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM and will give customers even greater access to near gigabit speeds in 2018.”

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks at Ericsson, says: “Breaking the 1 Gbps-mark means that commercial gigabit speeds are not far from reality for many broadband users, with our LAA and MIMO technologies as key enablers. It is also an example of how innovatively we work with partners to push the boundaries of technology and achieve new milestones.”

The demo took place at T-Mobile's Bellevue, Washington lab using the Ericsson Radio System and test equipment from Cobham Wireless. The data speeds were achieved by combining several key LTE technologies including 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO, and LAA by aggregating two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers.

The use of these LTE technologies on unlicensed spectrum complements licensed spectrum and makes it possible for a larger number of operators to reach gigabit speeds in their networks.
LAA has been demonstrated previously on 10 layers, reaching download speeds of up to 1 Gbps. Extending to 12 layers enables speeds exceeding 1 Gbps.

The Ericsson Radio 2205 gives operators the opportunity to deploy LTE on the 5GHz unlicensed band in outdoor micro cell environments. Using LAA, the unlicensed carriers on these radios can be aggregated with licensed carriers on the micro cells or on nearby macro cells.
 

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon will turn on the first $20B 5G mmWave network, soon offering a gigabit or close to 30M homes. The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while keeping capex at around 15%.

The Koreans, Chinese, and almost all Europeans are not doing mmWave in favor of mid-band "5G," with 4G-like performance. Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 10X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year. I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

The predicted massive small cell builds are a pipe dream for vendors for at least five years. Verizon expects to reach a quarter of the U.S. without adding additional small cells. 

In the works: Enrique Blanco and Telefonica's possible mmWave disruption of Germany; Believe it or don't: 5G is cheap because 65% of most cities can be covered by upgrading existing cells; Verizon is ripping out and replacing 200,000 pieces of gear expecting to save half. 

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 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.