Major wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T may have gotten the best of T-Mobile during the last 4G spectrum auction. However, it appears that T-Mobile may have found another source of airwaves, and it is possible that it will not cost the carrier anything.
During the recent Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, T-Mobile announced that it is planning to deploy LTE in the unlicensed 5 GigaHertz bands next year in 2016. 5 GigaHertz bands are generally considered the traditional home of Wi-Fi, and there is a good chance that the Wi-Fi industry may not be too enthusiastic about the idea of T-Mobile launching LTE in the Wi-Fi airwaves.
T-Mobile has always been pretty much open about its interest in taking advantage of unlicensed bands. But the carrier has never really given the public a clear idea of when it is planning to do so. Well, until now, that is.
T-Mobile is planning to use Alcatel-Lucent small cells. These are similar to tower-mounted cells but much smaller in size. These small cells will be equipped with radio processing chips developed by Qualcomm, as well as LTE-Unlicensed technology. The carrier has also tried using similar systems from Ericsson and Nokia.
This year, T-Mobile is planning to begin a trial of LTE-Unlicensed technology, and then utilize LTE-License Assisted Access (LTE-LAA), which is a more complex technology, when it takes that network commercial in 2016.
Basically, what this means is that LTE will share the 5 GigaHertz airwaves with Wi-Fi, shifting from one channel to another in order to get a clear path for transmitting 4G, similar to how Wi-Fi is currently co-existing with another in the same spectrum. However, the Wi-Fi industry is fearing that LTE will not play nicely with the other Wi-Fi networks that are on the same airwaves, possibly forcing off Wi-Fi users off of their own band.
Naturally, Wi-Fi users are a bit protective of the airwaves they traditionally have been calling their own. And they see T-Mobile's plan as an encroachment. As for wireless carriers, it is pretty understandable why they would be interested in using Wi-Fi airwaves. There are hundreds of MegaHertz in those airwaves that wireless carriers can use for their 4G networks, which would allow wider capacity and faster connection speeds.
But wireless carriers often have this reputation of lionizing every airwave they have access too. The Wi-Fi industry look upon their airwaves as something that is open and shared to all -- not something that will just be monopolized by major wireless carriers.
Wirefly Is America's Most Trusted Source For All Cell Phones, Plans, TV, and Internet Deals
Wirefly offers great deals on a large selection of smartphones, cell phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other wireless devices for the nation's most popular carriers. Use Wirefly’s innovative cell phone and plan comparison tools to ensure you are getting the best deal on the market. Shop with confidence knowing that Wirefly wants to help you find the best prices on cell phones, cell phone plans, TV, and Internet service.