T-Mobile NL starts 3-band CA trials

T-Mobile Netherlands launched a trial of three-band carrier aggregation (3CA) on its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in Woerden to demonstrate the capacity and speed benefits of bundling three spectrum bands together.

The operator, which is part of the Deutsche Telekom group, is using spectrum in the 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands and claimed to be the first operator in the Netherlands to be deploying 4G+ or LTE-A on the 2100 MHz band. It added that the use of 3CA would enable it to offer data speeds of up to 300 Mbps on the downlink.

T-Mobile NL only recently announced the completion of the national rollout of its 4G+ network, which was first launched in January. The network currently offers download speeds of up to 225 Mbps.

Richard Marijs, technology strategist at the operator, said there is sufficient space on the 4G+ network at present, but he noted that T-Mobile NL like most mobile operators has to prepare for an anticipated increase in data usage in future.

"With this technique, the total 4G capacity is increased from 30 MHz to 40 MHz," Marijs said.

The main purpose of the pilot is to test how 3CA works on the 2100 MHz band as well as in different situations. The results of the test will inform how this technique is used on the network in future. T-Mobile NL said it was unable to provide a timeline for when 3CA would be deployed throughout the entire network.

Deutsche Telekom has also been trialling 3CA at its other operations in Europe. For example, Telekom Deutschland said in September last year it was the first network operator in Germany to introduce 3CA into its operational network, enabling speeds of up to 375 Mbps. At the time the technology was only available at a few locations in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg.

For more:
- see this T-Mobile NL 3CA release (in Dutch)
- see this T-Mobile NL 4G+ release (in Dutch)

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