LG Uplus demonstrates faster LTE using LTE-U

LG Uplus last week showed off its new LTE in Unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U) network, demonstrating its ability to transmit data at speeds up to 600 Mbps.

The LG Uplus network, which was the subject of a recent Signals Research Group (SRG) report, offers warp-like speeds in Seoul, South Korea, that will put many other networks to shame. The LTE-U demo used 5.8 GHz unlicensed spectrum traditionally occupied by Wi-Fi.

"We took a big step forward in the LTE technology race again by realizing the 600 Mbps, the fastest data transmission speed used in a commercial mobile network, following the world's first development and demonstration of a LTE-U network," said LG Uplus Service Development Division head Lee Sang-min in The Korea Times. "We will come up with diverse LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology to raise network speed and quality for customers despite increasing data traffic."

The 600 megabits-per-second data transmission speed is twice that of LG Uplus' latest commercial mobile network service, tri-band LTE-A. The company said it combined the 60 MHz bandwidth in the 5.8 GHz spectrum and 20 MHz in the broadband LTE spectrum using carrier aggregation (CA) technology.

That's not all. LG Uplus plans to expand the use of the 5.8 GHz unlicensed spectrum to 80 MHz, up from 60 MHz, to realize 750 Mbps data download speed, the Korea Times said. Plans call for commercialization of the LTE-U network once handsets that support the faster transmission speed are available in the market. 

The mobile carrier also said it has finished the verification process for an even more advanced carrier aggregation technology that supports up to 800 Mbps data download speed, according to the Times. That technology divides data to a Wi-Fi spectrum and LTE spectrum and then transmits it to handsets.

Last year, the carrier announced it had developed LTE-U technology and recorded a download speed of 300 Mbps, accomplishing what would be the equivalent data transmission speeds of a 5G network.

In the U.S., the FCC last week formally kicked off a comment period seeking input on a range of topics related to LTE-U and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA). Wi-Fi providers are concerned cellular operators will deploy the technology in unlicensed bands and negatively affect Wi-Fi users. LTE-U/LAA proponents say the technologies are more efficient than other currently available unlicensed technologies and won't harm Wi-Fi.

Controversy does not seem to be abating. EE Times reports how Dave Burstein, editor at DSL Prime, A Wireless Cloud and The DOCSIS Report recently unearthed a document circulated among 11 carriers--including AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Sprint, China Mobile, KT, Telefonica and Orange--that attended one of the 3GPP's working group meetings in Belgrade, Serbia, in late April.

The document, "Precluding standalone access of LTE on unlicensed carriers," proposes to revise the 3GPP's rule that LTE-U could be used by any carriers, including those operating on the unlicensed spectrums, and to prohibit non-LTE carriers from using LTE-U.

Burstein told EE Times: "Telcos want LAA to require a control signal in licensed LTE spectrum--which others, like WiFi-first mobile service providers like Republic Wireless, don't own."

However, Rupert Baines, a consultant at Real Wireless, told the publication that while that is the proposal, his take was: "Those proposals are about making sure LAA stays closely linked to licensed LTE." Baines asserts there are sensible reasons why it's a better architecture.

For more:
- see The Korea Times article
- see this Business Korea story
- see this EE Times article

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