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AT&T Forges Ahead With LTE-LAA in 5G Evolution Markets

Carrier will forego LTE-U and go straight for the standards-based LAA

INDIANAPOLIS � In July, AT&T announced it is launching �5G Evolution� services in parts of Indianapolis, and one of the technologies it�s using in this market is LAA, which is expected to play a key role as it aims to reach theoretical peak speeds of up to 1 Gbps at some small cell sites this year, according to

LTE � Unlicensed or Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-U or LAA) works by using 4G/LTE radios to send and receive data via the same 5GHz frequencies as Wi-Fi. This lets carriers offload traffic from their congested licensed networks to consumer Wi-Fi, easing the load.

AT&T will forego LTE-U and go straight for the standards-based LAA. The company is now conducting tests with LAA and 4-carrier aggregation, and has decided that all of its pico cells and dense-area builds will make use of unlicensed radios and LAA instead of Wi-Fi. There are areas where, through agreements with municipalities or others, that Wi-Fi is supported; however, LAA will be the default, according to the same article.

Verizon and T-Mobile are proponents of LTE-U, which was developed outside the usual standards bodies. Last month, T-Mobile announced it was the first national wireless provider to make LTE-U available to customers; it also plans to deploy LAA. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are the first handsets on the market to take advantage of both LTE-U and LAA.�