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Vodacom shows off LTE-LAA and three-way aggregation

Huawei has worked with Vodacom in South Africa, where it has tested a network performing up to 1Gbps, using LTE-LAA (Licensed Assisted Access) with three-way carrier aggregation across licensed and unlicensed bands.

The demonstration, geared to dense indoor capacity, used Huawei’s small cell solution, LampSite. LTE-LAA’s main opportunities will be in this scenario – it allows LTE to run in 5 GHz, a high frequency band whose range and power limitations will dictate small access points. It has to work with a licensed spectrum LTE host network, which will typically support wide area mobility while LAA harnesses unlicensed frequencies to add capacity inside.

In a separate trial Huawei and Vodacom also showed the LTE-LAA system coexisting with WiFi. Of course it acknowledged that it was not using a full standard solution, but said Vodacom’s network could be upgraded to that solution – once standards are finalized this year in 3GPP Release 13, including the listen before talk technology which will be essential to deployment in 5 GHz in many markets outside the US.

For the public trial, Huawei worked with Qualcomm using a device based on the Snapdragon 820 processor. It says that commercial mobile devices are expected to be released by manufacturers towards the second half of the year.

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