T-Mobile launching LTE-U in spring 2017 to increase LTE capacity


After running tests with Qualcomm in early 2016, T-Mobile today announced plans to officially launch LTE-U (LTE for unlicensed).

T-Mobile says that it’ll launch LTE-U network capabilities and devices this spring. With LTE-U, T-Mobile will utilize the first 20 MHz of unlicensed spectrum on the 5GHz band, which will enable it to boost its LTE capacity.

Here’s how T-Mo explains LTE-U

“LTE-U devices and equipment intelligently tap into and share underutilized unlicensed spectrum without affecting other users on the same band, including those using conventional Wi-Fi. LTE-U constantly seeks the least utilized channels to maximize efficiency and performance for everyone. As demand on the Wi-Fi network increases, LTE-U backs off, and as Wi-Fi demand wanes, customers can tap into that unused capacity for LTE.”

Today’s announcement comes alongside the news that the FCC has authorized the first LTE-U devices in the 5GHz band, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pay described as a “significant advance in wireless innovation and a big win for wireless consumers.”

While T-Mobile hasn’t yet shared a ton of info on its LTE-U rollout plans, it does say that it’s been field testing LTE-U equipment since December 2016, so it’s already got some experience with the technology. With LTE-U, T-Mo will be able to boost its LTE capacity and offer improved data speeds. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a device that supports this feature to take advantage of the improvements that it offers.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Walt

    And the range of this is probably like 20 feet

    • Tlaw

      which is better then ur non existent lteu under that bridge

      • LOL!

        You burned that troll! Thank you very much! Man he’s annoying.

    • Dakota_Offspring

      You’re getting Sprint confused with T-Mobile. It happens, especially if you’re color blind

  • The Waz

    again, waiting for extended lte chicago to be turned on…according to johns and nevilles email to me, end of Q1 and mid Q2

  • Aurizen

    Whats the big deal with LTE U? WIll we get gigabit speed?

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      The idea is that it will allow operators to increase their capacity over relatively short distances (think inside of a sports arena) without needing to increase the amount of spectrum that they license in that area. They do that by having LTE control the connection and security, and deliver the data requested by the handset (which takes the vast majority of bandwidth) via the unlicensed 5GHz wireless spectrum. Wifi uses the exact same spectrum, hence why the two needed to figure out a plan to peacefully coexist.
      EDIT: Theoretically you *could* get gigabit speed, as 802.11ac can already hit such transfer speeds with the right equipment. However, I doubt very seriously you’d see anything higher than LTE speeds due to other factors, such as signal type and quality.

      • Bryant

        What about using Carrier Aggregation with LTE-U and the other bands of Tmo LTE? Should be able to hit gigabit for sure. Neville said they could hit gigabit in some areas during the last earning call, and he didn’t name LTE-U.

  • kev2684

    Where’s my Band 12 LTE in Jacksonville/Northeast Florida though??? Priorities, man…

    Bragging rights could only get you so far. Remember Verizon is breathing down your neck with their new plans.

    • bkat11

      Its coming man look at the 700mhz map already sightings

      • kev2684

        First one was 3 months ago. Another sighting 2 weeks ago.
        I hope it doesn’t take another 2 and a half months for the third one. :/

        • bkat11

          I know they need it…so does Gainesville coverage is awful there

        • Terrell L Washington

          Sprint has really good coverage in G ville but terrible speeds even on full bars in most places. Even unusable in the citt limits. Not a single site with 2.5 in the whole county. Ocala has one band 2.5 tower and thats it. But on tmobile every site in Ocala has 700mhz

        • bkat11

          My T-Mobile rep told me Gainesville is a target for them this year. Getting all of FL covered by 2017 year end

    • Dakota_Offspring

      Band 12 means nothing if they don’t have good backhaul capacity. I’m in a rural Band 12 area. Good signal, but borderline 3G speeds.

      • kev2684

        That’s not a problem in North Florida. We need Band 12 desperately.

    • bkat11

      It’s coming man there are some sights up already…I know what you mean though its sketchy at Kennedy Space Center and along that coast till you get a little further south on 95

    • DannyMac

      It isn’t like T-Mobile is a person who is working on one thing at a time. They are working on a multitude of things all across the country as part of one unified effort to improve their service. :P

  • Mike

    How about offering a consistent and steady signal at reasonably data speeds. 0.6 Mbps ⬇️ and 0.2 Mbps ⬆️ isn’t even close to LTE speeds even though it’s on the T-Mobile fastest LTE network. Btw I’m in populated area 15 miles west of Philadelphia, PA.

    • FILA

      PA sucks

    • metalspy8

      PA SHITTY STATE feel bad for you.. move on and stfu. call tmobile for your problems this isnt the place..

    • gmo8492

      PA is often seen as the worse state, the worse.

    • Alvin Lam

      I’m in the Mainlines and constantly getting 50+ up and down.

  • Omar Cardenas

    Dammit i gotta buy a new phone haha . eh its all good .

  • Melissa Cardenas

    exactly omar and i can see we not the only ones having problems . Funny how that guy in the other post took it personal when you told him you have problems with tmobile as me and the others on here . And those are facts others here are posting the problems they also have . So much for the most reliable network in the Nation like he said tmobile is . Only thing is that once they get this new technology ima also have to buy another newer phone haha .

    • Omar Cardenas

      yea i just yaaawned everytime i read her posts . Kept me entertained a while at work. Well yes i hope this new technology finally helps out here in all the dead spots around here i still have hope even tho ima also have to buy a new phone.

  • Tony Chen

    wow 5g already? holy crap

    • Walt

      Yeah, Lte dropped in 2010 with verizon and 2013 with tmobile

    • SirStephenH

      This isn’t 5g. This is LTE using the 5GHz (gigahertz) band which is mostly used by Wi-Fi.

  • Fish and Chips

    Come someone explain how this benefits the average caller?

    For example:

    Will this help expand the coverage distance both outdoors and indoors of LTE?
    Will this help maintain consistent/stable LTE speeds during areas of high congestion? (i.e. Band 12 full bars but slow as dial up)

    • CAL_08

      I interpret it as better connections and higher speeds since there are less electronic devices that operate on the 5ghz bandwidth. So higher quality and better reliability compared to what’s currently available.

    • bkat11

      This will be more for large events and congested areas. Like small cells

    • SirStephenH

      This allows for greater network capacity and speed for those within range and decreases the strain (increased speed and capacity) on the rest of the network. Due to its short range you probably won’t see much of a benefit outside of cities but every little bit counts.

      You can expect the other major carriers to roll out LTE-U in the coming years. Probably after making fun of T-Mobile’s use of it, just like with Wi-Fi calling.

  • KaminskiBrigade

    They say this will “co-exist” with the 5ghz frequencies used by many Wi-Fi routers.
    Yeah, right. T-Mobile will step all over the local routers and ruin what was high-performance Wi-Fi.
    Many Wi-Fi routers can use the 5ghz bands, which tend to be faster and less crowded than the normal 2.4 ghz bands. But with T-Mo moving in, there goes the neighborhood!

    • Critic4U

      That’s what I was thinking too. My ASUS RT-AC5300 uses 20 MHZ on both of its 5G antenna array’s I have it set that low to penetrate the walls in my house

    • ericdabbs

      I don’t think you understand at all how LTE-U works do you. There are mechanisms built into the LTE-U protocols to ensure it can co-exist with ongoing Wifi connections.

      • Lol

        Yup. It’s called LBT(listen before talk).