Mobile promises big LTE boost from 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies ars_ab.settitle(1046541)

Doubtlessly, once the switches are flipped on the base stations and LTE-U compatibility begins to spread, some users will at least consider unlawfully unlocking the capability by modifying their existing devices. T-Mobile said tapping into the newly available spectrum will help it deliver faster "gigabit LTE" to more people, too. Just keep in mind that you're going to need a device that supports LTE-U in order to take advantage of its benefits.

The Federal Communications Commission today authorized the first LTE-U (LTE for unlicensed spectrum) devices after a controversial process created to ensure that cellular network use of the 5GHz band won't interfere with Wi-Fi networks.

With LTE-U, customers will be able to tap into the first 20MHz of underutilised unlicensed spectrum on the 5GHz band and use it for additional LTE capacity.

The debate also roped in consumer advocates and the city of NY, which sent a letter to the FCC and global standards authorities saying LTE-U threatened the city's network of free Wi-Fi hot spots.

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T-Mobile has announced that it will be the first USA carrier to begin offering LTE-U support later this spring. This will let cell networks boost data speeds over short distances without requiring the use of a separate Wi-Fi network.

"T-Mobile's network is second to none, with more capacity per customer than the Duopoly ... and LTE-U will only accelerate our lead", said Neville Ray, CTO at T-Mobile.

Incumbent carriers supporting LTE-U believe the two can coexist without interference, but Google, Microsoft, and others are skeptical. Fears had been raised that the technology was bound to affect the speeds of Wi-Fi though this is not so as signals are not transmitted through busy Wi-Fi channels but rather through those that are not in use.

Other hardware manufacturers, including Ericsson, Nokia and Qualcomm are already in the race to fill the gap between LTE and 5G. "We stand ready to enhance T-Mobile's leadership proposition and show what the future of mobile communications can be for Un-carrier customers".

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