MTN and Ericsson trial first LTE-U network

29 April 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe


Ericsson and MTN have partnered to trial LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U), which combines licensed and unlicensed 5GHz spectrum on indoor small cells, in South Africa.

The companies announced the trial was completed by aggregating 10MHz from 1800 with 20MHz from 5GHz band and showcasing throughput of more than 200 Mbps. “This is the first time LTE-U has been trialed over the air in Africa,” claim Ericsson.

“This trial supports MTN’s strategy to drive sustainable growth by driving growth in voice, while developing new opportunities in data, enterprise, financial services and content. This innovation shows that MTN is within the cutting edge of world developments,” said Krishna Chetty, acting chief technology officer at MTN South Africa.

“LTE-U is designed to take advantage of the capacity available in the unlicensed 5GHz band spectrum. Through aggregating licenced 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."

LTE-U optimises available wireless network resources, and improves app coverage for all users whether their devices are using LTE-U, licensed cellular or Wi-Fi. LTE-U is a key milestone on the road to 5G, leveraging a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and using higher frequency bands on a small cell architecture.