Vodafone is promising faster 4G internet by combining both licenced and unlicensed bands. Dr Li Lin, Specialist in Mobile Access Centre of Excellence said the new technology, which the company has been trialling recently, will help it further expand 4G capacity and improve the experience customers have when using mobile broadband.
The trial took place in conjunction with Vodafone Netherlands on 17 November with the support of Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated.
The test used an Ericsson RBS 6402 small cell and a test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 modem.
Dr Lin said the company achieved download speeds of over 274 Mbps by aggregating 20MHZ of licensed spectrum in the 1800 band and 20MHz on the unlicensed 5GHz band. What's even better about this is the fact that the unlicensed spectrum can be shared among different technologies.
"In the trial we were pleased that LTE achieved good co-existence with the existing Wi-Fi system,” he said.
The 5GHz unlicensed spectrum band, targeted using this License Assisted Access (LAA) technique, is less crowded than licensed bands, with up to 600MHz of spectrum available. “That means our customers would be able to download data faster, a particular benefit when undertaking demanding online activity, such as watching videos or playing games”, Dr Lin added.
In the last three months Vodafone customers used 400 petabytes of data on their mobile phones for the first time, and in the European markets, this surge in data usage is driven by customers using on average twice as much 4G data as they did on 3G.