Ericsson, Swisscom claim European first in LTE carrier aggregation

Ericsson said Swisscom is the first operator in Europe to launch three-carrier aggregation combining LTE FDD and TDD modes in a commercial network on chipsets available from Qualcomm.

The Swiss operator demonstrated the solution this week at one of its stores in Zurich and plans to roll it out to subscribers in metropolitan areas of the country by summer 2016, when compatible three-carrier FDD/TDD smartphones are expected to be available.

Ericsson said the demonstration used two LTE TDD carriers with 20 MHz bandwidth in the 2.6 GHz frequency band and one LTE FDD carrier with 15 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band. In addition to the infrastructure company's RAN software and hardware, the demonstration utilised Qualcomm's Snapdragon X12 LTE modem.

Martin Bürki, managing director of Ericsson in Switzerland, said the network is a "world first" that will enable Swisscom to offer subscribers "the latest innovations and ensure top network performance and app coverage."

In a related statement, Swisscom CTO Heinz Herren said the new mix of mobile technologies will deliver higher capacity and data rates to customers. "With this combination of the two LTE modes we are the first provider in Europe to offer a completely new combination of technologies."

Swisscom said the three-carrier aggregation demonstration delivered a maximum data rate of 335 Mbps, and that longer term developments would boost data speeds further.

LTE carrier aggregation is a growing trend among Europe's operators.

In July, Danish operator TDC said it had deployed carrier aggregation on its LTE-Advanced network, with around 500 mobile masts updated at that date. TDC added that it would move towards offering three-carrier aggregation in future, as it looks to continue to boost mobile data rates.

UK operator EE in February said it achieved data rates of 400 Mbps in a demonstration of LTE carrier aggregation run in conjunction with Qualcomm. That test aggregated 20 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum, 20 MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum, and 15 GHz of 2.6 GHz, and followed a similar demonstration by the companies conducted in December 2014.

For more:
- see Ericsson's announcement
- view this related Swisscom statement

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