Unlicensed spectrum gives MTN 200Mbps on LTE-U in trial


Think SA’s mobile internet is fast now? Well, it’s about to get faster – MTN’s latest wireless internet tech has achieved speeds of 200Mbps, a very impressive 50Mbps faster than the highest advertised speeds of LTE-A.

It’s called LTE-U, and stands for LTE-Unlicensed as it makes partial use of the currently-unlicensed 5GHz spectrum.

Running a trial at its flagship channel store in Morningside, Johannesburg, MTN combined two frequencies of spectrum into one application – 10MHz of MTN’s licensed 1800MHz spectrum and 20MHz within the unlicensed 5GHz band.

LTE-U is a rather big step forward for mobile internet connectivity, and it will play a huge role in activating 5G – fifth-generation mobile networks – when it is ready.

“LTE-U is designed to take advantage of the capacity available in the unlicensed 5GHz band spectrum. Through aggregating licensed spectrum with unlicensed spectrum a bigger LTE carrier is created. The ability to aggregate spectrum is one of the primary benefits of LTE. Using this technology, MTN is able to combine its LTE spectrum with portions of the 5GHz spectrum band, to enable LTE- Unlicensed,” said Krishna Chetty, acting chief technology officer for MTN South Africa.

In March last year, Qualcomm announced its first small-cell system-on-a-chip for LTE-U, the same system used by MTN.
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