3GPP Includes Unlicensed Spectrum in Release 16 for 5G-U: Private LTE on Steroids

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By Dimitris Mavrakis | 4Q 2018 | IN-5344


The Importance of Unlicensed Spectrum


The past few years have seen the explosion of mobile broadband applications, with LTE-Advanced Pro now providing a consistent experience for most end users. It is this explosion that has created the demand for more spectrum, in some cases, more than allocated to most mobile service providers. The 3GPP has introduced the Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) and LTE in Unlicensed (LTE-U) frequencies, while there are industry initiatives targeting the use of unlicensed spectrum, including MulteFire globally and the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the United States. There are pros and cons for each of these technologies, but the industry seems to have consolidated its efforts behind official 3GPP standards, and LAA is now being deployed across the United States for consumer mobile broadband, while Private LTE is being trialed in CBRS spectrum by many companies, including Amazon, to enhance indoor coverage.

Unlicensed spectrum is a necessity to expand the mobile market beyond consumer mobile broadband, especially when mobile service providers may perceive the…

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