First up, T-Mobile says that it’s the first U.S. carrier to test Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology in the field. The testing began yesterday in Los Angeles and resulted in download speeds of 741Mbps using 80MHz of aggregated spectrum.
LAA combines unlicensed and licensed spectrum to get more bandwidth and faster speeds to customers. It also enables more carrier aggregation than LTE-U. T-Mobile plans to roll out small cells that include LAA technology later this year.
The good news is that T-Mobile customers don’t have to wait for later this year to get a network enhancement, because T-Mo is now rolling out LTE-U. This technology uses unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band to get more capacity and faster speeds for customers.
LTE-U now live in select locations in Bellevue, Wash.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Dearborn, Mich.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Richardson, Texas; and Simi Valley, Calif. LTE-U will roll out to more locations later in 2017.
In order to take advantage of LTE-U, you’ll need a compatible smartphone. Right now the only T-Mobile phone that supports LTE-U is the Samsung Galaxy S8, but more devices should be added to T-Mo’s roster in the future.