Antenna developer SkyCross announced that unnamed major handset manufacturers will begin deploying its VersiTune-LTE Antenna, which supports operators' carrier-aggregation requirements, later this year.
SkyCross claims the product is the first commercially available active-tuning antenna that supports LTE and carrier aggregation. Carrier aggregation is a feature of LTE Advanced technology and enables an operator to bond non-contiguous spectrum into a single, wider channel.
"To date, customers have been hesitant to integrate actively tuned antennas due to questions about market need versus performance and cost. With LTE and carrier aggregation coming upon us, the time has come to move to actively tuned solutions," said Ben Naskar, SkyCross CEO and chairman.
LTE-Advanced enables a maximum bandwidth of 100 MHz by aggregating up to five component carriers, and operators around the world are eyeing carrier aggregation as a way to improve their data offerings. SK Telecom will aggregate 850MHz and 1.8GHz from the second half of 2013 and expects to offer up to 2X faster maximum data rates, Byun Jae-woan, SK Telecom's CTO and head of technology, recently told FierceBroadbandWireless. Kris Rinne, AT&T Labs' executive vice president of network technologies, also told FierceBroadbandWireless that AT&T expects to test carrier aggregation during 2013 with an eye toward combining its 700 MHz and AWS spectrum.
SkyCross' VersiTune technology is designed to actively tune an antenna from frequency band to frequency band, enabling multiple bands to be satisfied by a single structure. "A single tunable SkyCross antenna can integrate multiple signal feeds and behave like multiple antennas, eliminating cost and space while preserving performance," said the company. Its VersiTune product offers broader performance across 12 or more operating frequency bands, with optimized MIMO performance for LTE in smartphones, tablets and USB modems in one-quarter the size of conventional antennas, said SkyCross.
The ability to support 12 or more bands could also help handset manufacturers come closer to creating a true LTE worldphone, a vision that is far from fruition given that more than 40 spectrum bands have been targeted for LTE deployments in markets worldwide. Most device manufacturers intend to serve regional LTE bands or target the most widely deployed LTE bands, such as 1800 MHz, which the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) recently confirmed is the most widely used band for LTE systems deployments worldwide.
SkyCross also announced that it has relocated its headquarters from Viera, Fla., to Fremont, Calif, so it can be closer to Silicon Valley and the company's sales and manufacturing facilities in Asia. SkyCross' Florida offices will become an R&D facility. SkyCross also has full-design and manufacturing facilities in Suwon, Korea; Taoyuan, Taiwan; and Shenzhen and Shanghai, China.
Investors in SkyCross ross include DoCoMo Capital, TL Ventures, Investor Growth Capital, Gabriel Venture Partners, Intel Capital and individual investors.
- see this SkyCross release and this release
SK Telecom CTO dishes on small cells, LTE-Advanced and RCS
Analyst: AT&T to launch LTE Advanced in second half of 2013
AT&T's Rinne talks about carrier aggregation trials, small cells and more
The 10 top VC firms in the wireless industry in 2011