T Mobile (NASDAQ TMUS) today notched yet another network first, completing the nation's first mobile broadband data session live in the field using License Assisted Access (LAA) on its commercial network.
It demonstrated a 741Mbps download over 80MHz of aggregated spectrum in the 5GHz band.
The good news is that T-Mobile customers don't have to wait for later this year to get a network enhancement, because T-Mo is now rolling out LTE-U. Because LTE-U uses high frequency airwaves, it has limited range which means it needs to be deployed in urban areas. Previously, the mobile giant tested LTE-LAA at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, reaching download speeds of up to 1Gbps by using LTE-LAA in tandem with CA, 4×4 multiple-input, multiple-output (4×4 MIMO) and 256 QAM functionality.
T-Mobile US started its testing in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sunday; while AT&T and Ericsson did their testing in downtown San Francisco. "While our competitors scramble to deal with the way unlimited data plans are slowing down their networks, we're already moving on to what's next", said Neville Ray, CTO at T-Mobile, in a release. With LAA, T-Mobile can combine more licensed and unlicensed bandwidth. If you do live in one of these regions and you're a T-Mobile subscriber, there's still a catch: your phone has to support LTE-U and yours probably doesn't. And, of course, T-Mobile is once again first to use this LTE Advanced technology. T-Mobile plans to roll out small cells that include LAA technology later this year.
T-Mobile likes to call itself the "Uncarrier", a self-imposed nickname that references its propensity to do things differently than other wireless carriers.
In its filing, the Un-carrier asked the Commission for permission to extend its testing of LTE-U equipment through December 28.