T-Mobile to expand its LTE Advanced network, lay groundwork for 5G


T-Mobile announced last week that it would expand its LTE Advanced network to 920 markets. The carrier has more than doubled its LTE Advanced footprint in the past year, and these developments will lay the groundwork for the adoption of 5G in coming years.

The announcement came during an event with Qualcomm Technologies for media and analysts. It will no doubt please investors disappointed with the collapse of merger talks between T-Mobile and Sprint.

T-Mobile will step up deployment of License Assisted Access (LAA) small cells. These offer networks additional capacity by accessing unlicensed spectrum bands. LAA provides operators who don’t have enough license spectrum for LTE Advanced the means to adopt it.

All told, 430 of T-Mobile’s markets can now boast Gigabit Class LTE. This is the result of access to the “trifecta of LTE Advanced technologies” – namely, carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) technologies. In the remaining 490 markets, at least one of these features is offered.

While T-Mobile claims this eclipses “every other national wireless company,” Verizon later rebutted this by arguing that it offers the trifecta in at least 560 markets.

“Global momentum for Gigabit Class LTE is continuing to pick up around the world, and we’re delighted that T-Mobile is planning to deliver gigabit connectivity to millions of consumers in the United States,” said Mike Finley, president of North America for Qualcomm. “In addition to providing blazing fast mobile connectivity, Gigabit Class LTE enables operators to expand network capacity to accommodate increasing demands by unlimited data plans, and increase overall spectral efficiency, enabling faster speeds for all users in the network.”



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