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AT&T Plans Further LTE-LAA Tests in San Francisco, Indianapolis

Company gains Illinois’ permission to end POTS throughout the state

NEW YORK � AT&T is planning to test prototype Ericsson equipment in the 5150�5250 MHz and 5725�5850 MHz bands in San Francisco and Indianapolis, using LTE-LAA, reports

LTE-LAA is technology developed through 3GPP that defines the ways in which a licensed carrier can introduce LTE in unlicensed spectrum. It combines unlicensed spectrum with licensed spectrum through carrier aggregation to increase network capacity, providing faster speeds.

The company said it had recently conducted LTE-LAA field trials, reaching wireless speeds of more than 750 Mbps in downtown San Francisco, using equipment from Ericsson.

In a recent filing with the FCC, AT&T requested a period between Aug. 7 of this year and Feb. 7 of next, to deploy temporary fixed stations with antennas no more than 6 meters AGL. “The experimentation will allow AT&T to evaluate performance and determine customer acceptability during the development, design, and pre-production phases of the equipment and will facilitate the eventual widespread deployment of LAA,” AT&T told the FCC in the same article.

Also, an AT&T-backed bill to end traditional landline phone service in Illinois is now the law of the land, pending approval from the FCC.

Overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner�s veto, the state general assembly approved the telecom modernization bill on July 1, enabling AT&T to disconnect its remaining 1.2 million landline customers statewide, assuming the commission goes along, according the Chicago Tribune.

“It’s important for our Illinois customers to know that traditional landline phone service from AT&T is not going away anytime soon,” Paul La Schiazza, AT&T Illinois president, said in a statement last week. “… AT&T currently continues to sell and provide traditional landline phone service to our customers.�

AT&T is losing about 5,000 landline customers statewide each week and less than 10% of Illinois households are still using the service.

While AT&T still needs approval from the FCC to abandon a long-standing obligation to maintain its “plain old telephone service,” it has already gotten similar legislation passed in 19 of the 20 other states where it is the legacy carrier. California is the only holdout.