T-Mobile achieves 1.3Gbps download speeds using License Assisted Access


T-Mobile have achieved another network speed milestone.

T-Mobile and Nokia hit download speeds of 1.3Gbps this week using commercial Nokia tech with License Assisted Access (LAA). The testing was done at T-Mo’s lab in Bellevue, Wash.

The equipment used in the test included Nokia’s AirScale MicroRRH connected to an AirScale module system. To reach 1.3Gbps, T-Mo and Nokia used aggregated LTE carriers in licensed and unlicensed bands with five component carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and LAA on 14 antenna layers.

Here’s what T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray had to say about this achievement:

“We are working to deploy small cells that support LAA and build on the LTE-Advanced features we’ve deployed across the country, laying a foundation for 5G. Our priority is ensuring customers have the best mobile experience, so we are accelerating LAA and five carrier aggregation to give them even higher speeds and greater network performance.”

Late last year, T-Mobile achieved speeds of 1.1Gbps using 12-layer LAA technology, and now T-Mo has managed to hit even faster speeds using LAA. Keep in mind that this is all done during lab testing, so you’re not going to go out and suddenly see 1Gbps+ speeds in the real world with your smartphone, but the tests do tease that network improvements are coming with the rollout of LAA small cells.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Matt

    The speed is only telling one side of the story. Speed will not overcome high latency issues. You can have all of the speed in the world, but if the link has high latency, things like video streaming will really suffer.

    • slybacon

      You are assuming there is high latency associated with these high speeds. I think they are getting the same 4G LTE latency as with any other 4G LTE connection. I don’t see why it would be any different.. 5G will reduce the latency and increase speeds. Also, your movie would only take longer to start with high latency. It would still play fine since the “request” for the movie only happens once.

    • Trevnerdio

      I’m with slybacon on this one. Latency has only improved with every new iteration of cellular tech. Imagine even 3G (UMTS) latency vs GPRS.

    • SirStephenH

      Things like video streaming don’t suffer from low latency due to buffering.

  • Clifton K. Morris

    It’s pretty amazing the speeds unlicensed WiFi spectrum can provide. And also, if I was Neville Ray, I’d be excited to be able to bill customers for services like WiFi as well. Sales employees will finally get off the engineers’ back and also get the new compensation plans they want.

    As long as T-Mobile’s compensation plans are based primarily on sales and net new additions, Neville will never be able to retire. Which can be a great thing. Neville must be used to being ridden hard and put away wet.

    • slybacon

      LAA will not be billed separately. It’s just LTE on radio waves used for wifi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). Those radio waves are not licensed to anyone and that is why they have to prioritize wifi connections over LAA connections. Your phone won’t connect to “wifi”, it’ll still just say LTE.

  • the martian ambassador

    So when they roll out 5G, will users of older phones even notice a difference ? Will your hardware need to be 5G compatible ? I’ve gotten as high as 38/MBPS using a Note 4 on T-Mobile with 4G, which is great if you want to use up your monthly high speed data allotment in under an hour. If 5G provides higher speeds during network congestion, that is where the true benefit will be evident.

    • slybacon

      That’s a good point. 4G LTE may be so advanced that the next step to 5G isn’t as big as they make it out to be. Probably one area that will still be a huge difference is latency. 5G will “respond” much quicker than 4G LTE. And yes, I think 5G will be able to serve the masses easier. It’ll be more efficient at delivery data packets.
      Also, aren’t you on unlimited yet? T-Mobile high speed allotment is 50 Gigs. You couldn’t watch 50 gigs of video in one hour…

      • the martian ambassador

        Yes, I’m on T-Mobile One with One Plus International. When the network is congested, I notice speeds dip to around 7MBPS. That’s still pretty fast for using Facebook and Twitter. Even though I can stream in HD, I always set the stream quality to 480P, which looks fine to me. It’s kind of nutty to stream in HD over wireless. Amazon HD is advertised to consume 6.84GB per hour. That would exhaust your monthly 50GB allotment in just 7 hours. Amazon standard definition video consumes just 380 MB per hour. Wireless heaven is still a ways off.