Ericsson and Telefónica, a telecommunications operator headquartered in Madrid, demonstrated live, over-the-air delivery of LTE-U through Telefónica's network.
LTE-U enables operators with LTE spectrum to tap into the unlicensed 5 GHz Wi-Fi band to add data capacity — without the user having to log into the Wi-Fi network. Qualcomm proposed LTE-U, which is short for LTE in unlicensed spectrum. LTE-U is similar to license assisted access (LAA), proposed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
The Ericsson–Telefónica demonstration used an Ericsson indoor picocell (RBS 6402) with LTE-U software. The picocell handles three standards (LTE, WCDMA and Wi-Fi), 10 frequency bands and up to 300 Mbps LTE carrier aggregation. With the LTE-U software, the picocell can combine the unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum with licensed LTE spectrum to increase download data rates.
Ericsson is enhancing their LTE-U software, including reducing LTE-U transmission duration to meet the 3GPP Release 13 LAA specifications. To ensure a smooth transition to 3GPP Rel-13 LAA, Ericsson will upgrade the picocell software to provide "listen before talk" and full co-existence between LTE-U and Rel-13 LAA devices on the same LAA carrier.
Where national regulations allow systems to operate with pre Rel-13 LAA standards, operators can begin using the unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum to improve data capacity.