Today, we are happy to have announced a collaboration with Samsung Electronics Co. on small cell technologies and products to help enhance the speed and capacity of mobile networks. Per this announcement, Samsung will be among the first to leverage LTE-U to aggregate licensed and unlicensed spectrum using the Qualcomm FSM99xx chipset with expected deployments later this year.
There are several exciting things to consider with regard to this announcement and we want to draw your attention to one in particular. As indicated in the release, Qualcomm Technologies’ FSM99xx chipsets enable our customers to extend LTE into unlicensed spectrum in the near-term with LTE-U while supporting a software upgrade path towards Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) as Release 13 nears finalization.
LTE-LAA is an important part of the 3GPP Release 13 standard expected to be finalized later this year. Similar to LTE-U, LAA uses carrier aggregation to combine LTE in 5GHz unlicensed spectrum with LTE in the licensed band. Arguably, one of the most significant features of LAA is referred to as “LBT” for Listen Before Talk. This is not only good life advice but a necessity to meet regulatory requirements for utilizing LTE in unlicensed spectrum in several places around the world including Europe and Japan. The benefits for mobile operators were demonstrated in the world’s first over-the-air LAA trial carried out by Deutsche Telekom and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
Enabling the ecosystem with cutting edge LTE-U capabilities today and upgradeability to LAA tomorrow is not only a big win for operators and infrastructure providers, but also a global confidence-booster promoting fair sharing of unlicensed spectrum between Wi-Fi and LTE. It is also a necessity, allowing the industry to cope with the insatiable user demand for mobile data.
Come visit us at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016. Our team has been making great progress towards LAA enablement on our FSM small cell chipset platform and will be demonstrating the latest at the Qualcomm booth during the show.