Qualcomm gets green light to test LTE-U with T-Mobile

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) got what it asked for: FCC permission to continue LTE-U product development testing with T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) at several locations, including where T-Mobile is based in Bellevue, Washington.

Qualcomm has been leading the charge for LTE-U, which some cable and Wi-Fi players contend doesn't play fair with Wi-Fi, even though Qualcomm says LTE-U has been designed to coexist with Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies. Qualcomm says it has even tested LTE-U performance in an over-the-air test bed with commercial Wi-Fi equipment and found that LTE-U is often a better neighbor to Wi-Fi than Wi-Fi itself.

"Qualcomm continues to prove fair coexistence between LTE-U and Wi-Fi through our own testing, through third-parties and through our work with other stakeholders within the LTE and Wi-Fi industries," said Dean Brenner, Qualcomm SVP of government affairs, in a statement. "Today the FCC has once again granted Qualcomm a Special Temporary Authority to further test and develop LTE-U technologies and ultimately bring products to end-users. Qualcomm is very pleased that the FCC granted our request and will continue to work with the FCC and other stakeholders to ensure LTE-U will fairly coexist with Wi-Fi."

The Wi-Fi Alliance has been holding workshops and trying to reach consensus on an industrywide test plan that will ensure fair coexistence among LTE and Wi-Fi devices. "We will also continue to collaborate with the Wi-Fi Alliance to develop a coexistence test plan, and utilize that plan for joint lab and field testing," Brenner stated. "We thank the FCC for again granting a STA, and thank all others involved for working with us to further LTE-U progress."

The Special Temporary Authorization (STA) that Qualcomm was granted lists station locations in Bellevue, Simi Valley, California; Richardson, Texas; and North Las Vegas, Nevada. Among the conditions of the STA, operation in the 1695-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2020 MHz or 2110-2200 MHz band requires the consent of Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) licensee(s) to avoid interference.

T-Mobile and Verizon have been the most vocal U.S. operators about wanting to deploy LTE-U in unlicensed spectrum. The LTE-U Forum was formed in 2014 by Verizon in cooperation with Alcatel-Lucent, which is now part of Nokia, as well as Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies and Samsung.

The FCC also granted a STA to Qualcomm in January to conduct small scale performance evaluation tests of LTE-U equipment at two Verizon sites in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Raleigh, N.C.

For more:
- see this STA grant

Related articles:
Qualcomm seeks STA to conduct LTE-U tests, including at T-Mobile facilities
Wi-Fi Alliance says goal is to deliver LTE-U/Wi-Fi coexistence test plan by summer
Qualcomm gets permission to test LTE-U at two Verizon sites