T-Mobile working with Nokia to begin 5GHz unlicensed LTE small cell deployment by 2016

Nokia-Logo-2

Although Nokia’s name as a handset manufacturer has virtually died off, it still has a strong brand in the world of network management and infrastructure. Nokia Corporation and T-Mobile have worked together on network build-outs in the past, and look set to continue their relationship as unlicensed 5GHz spectrum is rolled out.

According to a blog published by Zacks Equity research, the two companies are aiming to ramp up the deployment of small cell units, with a target of having the first sites up by 2016.

“T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS) has joined with Nokia Corporation (NOK) to accelerate the deployment of small cell units that operate in the unlicensed radio bands. The companies are jointly developing a pre-standards LTE-U (LTE unlicensed) small-cell solution for additional LTE capacity, improved network performance and superior customer experience.”

This 5GHz spectrum has cropped a few times recently, and looks as though it’s going to be one of the ways T-Mobile tackles indoor coverage in large buildings, like malls. Currently, the 5GHz frequency band is used almost exclusively in Wi-Fi. But using it as LTE-U or LAA (licensed assisted access) has shown positive results in testing, even performing better than Wi-Fi. In fact, T-Mobile plans to trial it in the “near future.” The carrier’s network chief confirmed as much during the earnings call last week.

What’s more, Nokia intends to show off the power of its Flexi Zone small cells technology at MWC in Barcelona next week. The demo will show how carrier aggregation between LTE in licensed and unlicensed spectrum works in a real-life situation, and its “conformity with Wi-Fi”. A technology which T-Mobile’s roll will be based on.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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  • Seabreeze

    This is great for the wireless industry, T-Mobile is helping to drive innovation and competition in the market. I hope their pre-standards LTE-U solution becomes a viable and mainstream option to help overcome their indoor coverage limitation. This is another layer on top of low band spectrum if they are able to acquire some through the FCC auction.

    • eanfoso

      not to sound pessimistic but T-mobile didn’t invent the technology, Nokia did…. so it is Nokia driving innovation.

      • HiddenInTheCorner

        While it may not be T-mobile who is invented the technology. It is T-mobile who is pushing the adoption of the technology. Without that, you have nothing.

        • archerian

          rather strong words, have you read who actually has been pushing this technology, and have already done trials with it? It’s not T-mobile at the fore-front of this technology

  • TK – Indy

    This seems to be really nothing more than setting up their own WiFi in select places, which they could have done all along, and you wouldn’t need a new phone to take advantage of.

    • Cam Bunton

      It uses the same spectrum as Wi-Fi, but it isn’t Wi-Fi.

      • TK – Indy

        But it could be, and it would be much easier and cheaper.

        • Chris “the original”

          But user experience wise, it’s not the solution they wanted. This solution allows users not to switch from LTE -> Wi-fi or Wi-fi -> LTE when leaving a spot. Which means a much fluid experience. Since your packets do not drop when you leave the zone / spot or whatever you want to call it.

        • Hector Arteaga

          You’re missing the point of the technology. This would be seem less to the end user. You wouldn’t have to worry about connecting to it or logging in. It would just work.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Exactly, it’s just LTE as usual using 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum.

  • johhnybgood3

    yes but this may interfere with home/institutional WIFI if deployed too close. That’s the main downside.

    • TK – Indy

      They wouldn’t get away with stomping on signals. If they tried, then #wewonstop would become #wemadethemstop.

    • Chris

      All our home electronics operate in the same 5GHz frequency (i.e. microwave, cordless phones, etc.). Should we start asking them that it has a downside on our home wifi networks?

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      5ghz is a general term for several bands in that frequency range. Just as cell operators can broadcast on adjacent frequencies (aws, PCS, etc.) without interfering with each other, operators will be able to broadcast signal without interfering with other radio technologies by using bands adjacent to the ones the other technologies utilize.

  • Mr Paul

    T-Mobile – It’s Wi-Fi, but it’s not™

    • archerian

      Better than “Oh you have call drops and other issues? Upgrade to one of our WiFi calling enabled phones.”

      • UMA_Fan

        Meanwhile my Verizon phone deep in building is useless for calls and texting even though I have wifi.

        • archerian

          there are far more people who use and need to use phones in “normal” locations than in deep buildings. After all, its a mobile phone. I do admit I’ve been using UMA for 8 years for international roaming for that its great.The earlier comment of mine was actually not made up, it was a response from CSR to calling issues I faced, not deep in any building but at my (single floor) office

        • Mr Paul

          Wi-Fi calling can truly only fix a couple things and help some more:

          1.) Calling in the center or deep in buildings, and in basement level garages. Requires an adequate Wi-Fi and internet connection, which in many areas is still not abundant for public Wi-Fi.

          2.) Giving a technical cell over Wi-Fi connection in any place where a cell network doesn’t happen to be or isn’t.

          3.) Substitute coverage in homes to ease the load off of towers (not a need for current AT&T/VZW users)

          4.) Substitute coverage anywhere where adequate public Wi-Fi (usually cable company Wi-Fi) actually is available to technically save data and take a tiny load off of towers. (redundant, wastes battery life, unnecessary)

          I think all carriers should offer it, but it’s pros are grossly over-exaggerated by T-Mobile, and sugar-coated by the half fact that you technically might not got coverage in some random areas for 1/8th of a mile, or a small dead spot in your home or office, which is usually a problem of frequencies of PCS/AWS networks.

          TL;DR: Wi-Fi calling is a plus, but is way over-hyped by T-Mobile and shouldn’t be such a need they make it out to be. They sell it like salesman, and their users need it. Others will simply benefit from technically having it.

        • Mr Paul = LOSER

          Why do you emboss a Sprint logo within AT&T logo? The two companies are not related in any way. AT&T is a GSM carrier and Sprint is a CDMA carrier. Also, you’re constantly trolling TmoNews…

        • thepanttherlady

          Stop copying and pasting this same message over and over. Once is enough.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Can’t we get rid of him already?

        • Mr Paul

          Something like that, coming from someone like you? You have no morals.

        • Mario

          please kick him out! He’s always so negative and well such a douchebag!!

        • Jason

          So its okay for TMoFan Steff to state he is having sex with someone’s mom but its bad to repeat yourself? I thought you questioned my moderation fairly statement couple days back ROFL

          Perfect example!

          Block me all you want, there is no wall to big

        • Mr Paul

          What dedication!

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Your beloved at&t used to have commercials claiming to have the fastest 4g network, is that pathetic? And sprints customer hemmorage is largely due to their crappy network performance. Its pretty obvious data speeds are an important metric to consumers.

        • Mr Paul

          Speeds mean nothing. Coverage means everything. If I can get 5-6 down, which I always do and then some, then happy day. Any more is practically wasteful, anyways.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Yeah, you also mentioned “phones should be used to call, text, and browse the web. .” Not everyone uses their phone like you and my grandmother. For those of us that do more than that, there is a significant and appreciable difference between 6mbps and 60.

        • Mr Paul

          Do you download torrents all day? If not, what do you need 60 megabits for? How about a list while you’re at it.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Uploading porn videos of me and your mother primarily.

          I couldn’t imagine having such a pathetic life that I spent my free time trolling on an internet forum for a company I didn’t care about or have any connection with. Go jerk off or play video games or something

        • Mr Paul

          Thanks for the honest response, you too.

        • SVU BOlieve in AJ’s EMMAlution

          Back when I had VZW, my phone would always go into roaming soon as I stepped inside my work building. (I work at a warehouse store) Happened on my Moto Bionic and my GS3, my T-Mo doesn’t have that problem, it might lose LTE and go on HSPA+ but that only happens every once in a while.

        • YABD

          By May 2015 Verizon will introduce WiFi calling.

        • Mr Paul

          Verizon’s tower spacing creates dead spots and weak spots out the behind. This is a very well known issue. Verizon’s LTE network is often swiss cheese. They boost some areas, totally neglect others. Very strange. There is no consistency in Verizon’s network; I laugh at those who praise it or call it’s coverage ubiquitous.

          Technically, some buildings cannot be penetrated through (all the way, not none at all almost ever), but 9/10 times that is the issue with Verizon. Even today I know of buildings where VZW users can barely make a call or send a text, and I have 5 bars, -80dBm signal and a great SNR, etc..

  • bob

    plan on reporting Legeres contract extension? $30 Mil a year man

    • TK – Indy

      He’ll still be morally bankrupt. Plus, that mouth is always writing checks that his a** can’t cash.

      • ton

        So yoi hate t mobile go to your precious s4guru for sprint. This guy needs to be banned from t mobile site like this.

        • Mr Paul

          Arguably, you need to be IP banned for spamming.

    • gmo8492

      He got T-mobile out of the hole they were in little over 2 years of being CEO and gained millions of subscribers. The man earned his money.

  • Mike Palomba

    I’m a little confused. Will this work any most wifi enabled phones or do you need a brand new phone to support it? I plan on selling my 6 and upgrading to the 6s in September but if I have to get another new phone in 2016 to support this new technology when my new phone would only be a few months old, I would be disappointed

    • Roberto Jaimes

      Sometime in 2016 not the beginning of 2016.

    • TK – Indy

      They will have to package up 5Ghz frequencies into a “Band” just like Band 12, etc. in order to make the phone see it as LTE. Some phones already have the ability to use the 5Ghz channels, in that case it could likely be done with firmware. Others won’t be able to see it at all, those will need replacing.

      • Mr Paul

        And T-Mobile still only has a handful of B12 phones. What a clusterf#ck.

        • Mr Paul = LOSER

          Why do you emboss a Sprint logo within AT&T logo? The two companies are not related in any way. AT&T is a GSM carrier and Sprint is a CDMA carrier. Also, you’re constantly trolling TmoNews…

        • Jay Holm

          I will have a B12 phone the very moment an S6 is available to order from T-Mobile customer service.

        • Mr Paul

          Then, count yourself lucky if you’re in one of the ridiculously small laundry list of areas that have absolutely any 700MHz from T-Mobile.

        • Jay Holm

          T-Mobile’s 700 licenses cover 190m pops. Not exactly a “ridiculously small laundry list”.

          I live in Fairfield County, Ct

        • Mr Paul

          Excuse me? Let’s do some math:

          The licenses they own – (MINUS) Channel 51 conflict – (MINUS) what they haven’t deployed = Their 700MHz footprint.

        • ton

          Go somewhere else and post troll. Nobody wants you here. Why havent mod ban this person yet from t mobile site.

        • ton

          Then why are you here at t mobile site you should go to s4guru for sprint.

        • ton

          And hows sprint most of devices font even have spark.

    • Fabian Cortez

      Like all new technology, new devices will be needed.

      This is LTE on a different band so the phone will need to support the band.

  • sushimane

    what’s the difference in lte-u?

    • Mr Paul

      U=Unlicensed. Using unlicensed frequencies as opposed to licensed ones they have to buy from auctions. It’s another Band T-Mobile phones won’t support for years.

      • sushimane

        is there anything good about the unlicensed frequencies?

        • Mr Paul

          It’s really just Wi-Fi in nature. The only possible reason I can see them using it is filling gaps in places like Stadiums or high-traffic, outdoor areas. It’s an extraordinarily high frequency; even cable wifi is virtually always 2.4GHz. I think it’d be far more feasible for them to just start making Wi-Fi hotspots.

        • Hector Arteaga

          Why wifi hotspots? You have to connect to those and log in. With the LAA, wouldn’t it work seamlessly? At least that’s what I’ve read so far. So the user wouldn’t even notice. What’s not an advantage of that?

        • Fabian Cortez

          is there anything good about the unlicensed frequencies?

          Please pay no mind to the uneducated troll on here.

          LTE != Wi-Fi even though they use the same frequency band.

          It’s simply LTE that performs better than Wi-Fi using the same spectrum. So you receive all of the benefits of LTE with the capacity of the 5 GHz spectrum.

        • TK – Indy

          This is going to have all kinds of problems, it won’t end up being a noticeable improvement for most people, plus all the devices and such that can use those frequencies will clobber each other. Much ado about nothing, same as most of T-mobile’s stuff.

        • Fabian Cortez

          This is going to have all kinds of problems, it won’t end up being a noticeable improvement for most people, plus all the devices and such that can use those frequencies will clobber each other. Much ado about nothing, same as most of T-mobile’s stuff.

          Another uninformed troll. Please don’t make statements without knowing the facts.

          There is close to 500 MHz available within the 5 GHz band. Also, if you would have read up, channel interference is actively being handled by the broadcasting equipment. The same equipment only costs ~$2,000 and runs solely off of an Ethernet jack.

        • TK – Indy

          You are an individual who thinks he is informed, but is not. Anyone and anything can use the 500 MHz, and they will. This will create problems and render it unusable in some circumstances, even for the .00001% of the T-mobile customers that will ever connect to such an insignificant, poorly thought-out solution.

        • Jay Holm

          Are you a CTO of some company?

        • Fabian Cortez

          You are an individual who thinks he is informed, but is not. Anyone and anything can use the 500 MHz, and they will. This will create problems and render it unusable in some circumstances, even for the .00001% of the T-mobile customers that will ever connect to such an insignificant, poorly thought-out solution.

          Please. Just stop. It’s embarrassing.

          What part of “channel interference is actively being handled by the broadcasting equipment” did you not understand?

          Do you understand how large 500 MHz is? To put into perspective, Sprint has, in average, 100-120 MHz of 2.5 GHz (for TD-LTE only) across the country. That spectrum is garbage in this country due to many factors. Those include Sprint, the geography, TD-LTE (uplink being tre same high frequency as the downlink), site spacing, oh and Sprint again.

          If this was so insignificant and poorly thought out,* why has it been codified as an LTE standard and why has Verizon pledged support?

          Back under the bridge for you.

          *It’s not. Only the downlink is aggregated to boost capacity. The uplink remains in the AWS/PCS/700 A block (1700/1900/700 MHz) range. If you don’t undrstand two-way communications, please educate yourself.

        • TK – Indy

          It won’t work because they can’t guarantee that they will have any dedicated spectrum in a given area. Any device with a 5Ghz radio could cycle through the spectrum just as fast as any equipment that they could design. This is a stupid idea.

        • Mr Paul

          Explain to us how well 5GHz penetrates through anything, and how far it travels. Go!

        • Moby

          It’s already been tested and it performs well. If you say it doesn’t then publish your tests. Of course you don’t have any. Just a worthless opinion.

        • Fabian Cortez

          It’s already been tested and it performs well. If you say it doesn’t then publish your tests. Of course you don’t have any. Just a worthless opinion.

          Exactly.

          It’s not meant to be used for the macro network, unlike Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum that uses 2.5 GHz for both downlink and uplink operations.

          5 GHz is only being used as supplemental downlink spectrum using “carrier aggression” with the broadcasting equipment (RBS 6402) being strategically placed where needed. Oh and it’s tablet-sized and cheap ($2,000).

          Uplink operations remain on the lowband and/or midband network: 700 MHz or 1700 MHz or 1900 MHz.

          http://www.computerworld.com/article/2861352/ericsson-pushes-plan-to-send-wireless-apps-over-unlicensed-5ghz-spectrum.html?goback=%2Egde_4863187_member_5958367408585453571

          Once again, there are a great deal of uninformed people making wild statements about subjects they don’t comprehend and/or know of.

          These trolls are easy. :D

        • Hector Arteaga

          Since you seem to know quite a bit about this. Could it be used at 5Ghz down and uplink indoors? Or would they also use the uplink at current bands indoors? Thanks.

        • Hector Arteaga

          Have you read anything about how T-Mobile is planning to use this technology? It’s meant for indoors and high concentration areas (stadiums). It won’t be used the same way Sprint is using B41.

        • tony

          I thought your a network engineer who knows about network? Stupid troll. Just leave.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          I think the network engineers who work on this stuff know a little bit more about it then you.

        • Mr Paul

          I think you need to have daddy Legere go make you a warm glass of milk.

        • Factose intolerant

          He factose intolerant!
          Ha Ha Ya ya

        • Hector Arteaga

          Dude, really? What does this have anything to do with the conversation? Have anything intelligent to add?

        • Mr Paul

          This troll was whining about how horrible Sprint’s Band 41 is. Now he’s praising nearly double the frequency because it has his Daddy Legere and Uncle Ray’s pink lipstick all over it.

          Hopefully people find your posts humorous at this point.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          The difference is how the service will be implemented. Sprints high frequency service is garbage because it is rolled out in the same fashion traditional cellular service is – big antennas on big cell towers trying to cover large areas and penetrating buildings. Lte-u will be rolled out to micro cells (not large cell towers) located INSIDE high traffic areas like shopping malls and airports. Understand the difference now?

        • Mr Paul

          I understand that you are or related to Fabian Cortez .

  • Ordeith

    It’s too bad they didn’t work with Nokia to sell their phones when Nokia still had phones to sell.

  • PHL

    I think this is all tied in with the Google MVNO that’s rumored. I thought I read that Google was going to be primarily WiFi with TMO and Sprint as backup carriers. This new technology would tie in nicely with that type of architecture. Obviously, an entire new generation of handsets will be required, and Google would be the natural partner for developing such a thing in sufficient quantities to make it cost-effective and compelling to the consumer.

    Pie-in-the-sky vision: imagine a project Ara handset that let’s you plug in a LTE-U antenna when it becomes a workable option.

  • Zach Chadwick

    Mr. Paul simply makes me want to stop reading comments all together. You’re completely arrogant, and for you to mock CEO’s and Engineering Experts @TMobile Just shows how much aspiration you wish you had. You need to stop. You sir, are simply disrespectful, arrogantly opinionated, and ill-minded. I don’t give two pigs about your comments directly to this one. Comment all you want, I don’t care. Just want to get it out there, that you’re annoying, and (I more than likely speak for every reader here) I wish you would stop visiting TmoNews. You simply make it a horrible reading experience.

    • jay_max

      The problem is that Fabian (TMO troll), Mr. Paul and TKindy (Sprint trolls) have brought their sad little cat fight over here from fiercewireless. I’m just flagging all of their comments, as it makes reading these articles unenjoyable. Hopefully Cam will ban all three at some point.

      • TK – Indy

        I go out of my way to be polite and try not to mention other carriers unless someone else does and gets information wrong, in which case it should be corrected, otherwise this site is just Fox News spreading propaganda. The site needs readers, and the readers should be able to engage in civilized, intelligent discussions with varied opinions without personal attacks and abusive name-calling.

        • tony

          Why are you still here go to your own spront site s4guru and priase your sprint network there.

      • Fabian Cortez

        The problem is that Fabian (TMO troll), Mr. Paul and TKindy (Sprint trolls) have brought their sad little cat fight over here from fiercewireless. I’m just flagging all of their comments, as it makes reading these articles unenjoyable. Hopefully Cam will ban all three at some point.

        You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

        This is a fan site that I’ve been reading upon and posting on for years. Back when David used to own/run it and before these two showed up.

        Secondly, there’s no cat fight from Fiercewireless. I’ve been posting on there for a while as well. I cannot control nor direct the behavior of a troll; it’s just its nature to follow and harass other individuals around the internet without sense.

        So please get the facts straight.

      • Mr Paul

        If Fabian hasn’t been banned, then people like me will not be banned. That’s all I have to say on that.

        • Hector Arteaga

          Mr Paul, at least Fabian is being a T-Mobile fan on a T-Mobile website. Lol. You do have websites geared towards Sprint you know. Go there.

        • thepanttherlady

          I don’t anticipate this is going to be an issue moving forward.

        • Hector Arteaga

          I’m not trying to get the guy banned, just pointing out. Anyway, I don’t believe anything has been said for anyone to get banned. Just pointing out that this IS a T-Mobile new site. It would be like being a Chevy fan and going to Ford news site just to agitate people.

    • I Like Paul

      I’d say the same for all the TMobile Employees and TMobile fanboys here that post senseless, unaccurate or misleading statements…

      It’s okay to be fan but some of the ish stated here is totally false and completely overboard….

      These people have made my experience horrible but yet entertaining… Anytime I feel stupid I know I can always depend on the fanboys to make me feel gracious for my intelligence…
      Thanks Fannies and TMo employee’s!

      Paul helps the balance here!

    • Mr Paul

      In grade school, we learn that if we don’t like something, we simply ignore it.

      • gmo8492

        They also need a time out aka ban them ;)

  • eAbyss

    I see T-Mobile branded WiFi routers with built-in LTE-U in our future.

  • Bill Lentz

    Bill Lentz, perhaps the 3.4-3.6 lightly licensed band would be a better choice for the LTE-U air interface for in-building LTE enhancement?
    With the rapid acceptance and deployment of 802.11ac systems that use large bonded 5GHz channels the 3.4-3.6GHz band would have less chance of impacting incumbent 802.11a through 802.11ac systems.
    Then again the band might fall under LTE-LAA and not LTE-U.