Ericsson has announced using licensed-assisted access (LAA) technology to achieve speeds of 1.1Gbps on T-Mobile's LTE network in the United States.
The companies used 12-layer LAA technology, Ericsson's Radio 2205 system, Cobham Wireless TM500 network test equipment, and T-Mobile's lab in Bellevue, Washington, for the trials, which aggregated two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers.
"The Ericsson Radio 2205 gives operators the opportunity to deploy LTE on the 5GHz unlicensed band in outdoor micro cell environments. Using LAA, the unlicensed carriers on these radios can be aggregated with licensed carriers on the micro cells or on nearby macro cells," Ericsson explained.
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said LAA technology is being used on the LTE network in addition to earlier deployments of 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO) and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Moderation (QAM), and will allow customers to see speeds approaching 1Gbps in 2018.
"Breaking the 1Gbps mark means that commercial gigabit speeds are not far from reality for many broadband users, with our LAA and MIMO technologies as key enablers," Ericsson executive VP and head of Networks Fredrik Jejdling added.
T-Mobile has worked with Ericsson over the last two years to roll out advanced 4G using Ericsson's Antenna-Integrated Radio (AIR), 4x4 MIMO, and 256 and 64 QAM. Ericsson also provided T-Mobile with 700MHz tuning and optimisation.
T-Mobile -- which has also been working on 5G lab tests with Samsung -- was also aiming to deploy up to 6,000 small cells during 2017, Ray said in February.
According to Ericsson, gigabit LTE networks have now been commercially deployed by 14 providers worldwide -- including the network launched at the start of this year by Telstra and Ericsson in Australia -- while 212 4G networks have been upgraded to LTE-A.
Ericsson similarly attained speeds of 1.07Gbps on Verizon's network in August using three 20MHz carriers of frequency-division duplex (FDD) spectrum, 12 simultaneous LTE streams, 4x4 MIMO, and 256 QAM per carrier, while AT&T has been using LAA to push gigabit speeds on its own network.
Ericsson this week also extended its managed services deal with MBNL, a network-sharing joint venture between UK carriers Three and EE, for two years from June 2018 to May 2020.
Under the contract, Ericsson will continue providing network performance and optimisation, central operations, field services, and multi-vendor spare parts management solutions for MBNL.
Ericsson has been providing MBNL's managed services since 2009, as well as having originally helped consolidate the company's mobile sites.
The networking giant is also focusing on providing 5G solutions for carriers globally, recently launching a 5G Life Campus at the Corda Campus technology park in Hasselt, Belgium.
The 5G Life Campus will be connected to Ericsson's R&D lab in Aachen, Germany, and will be used to develop and test 5G technologies, applications, and use cases. It will launch in the first quarter of 2018, and allow businesses and startups to use the space.
Ericsson last week predicted that 5G would reach 20 percent of the global population as of 2023, with 1 billion subscriptions to be held by then.
Trials of 5G with operators across the globe have seen Ericsson attain data transfer speeds of3.6Gbps on connected cars with SK Telecom and BMW; download speeds of between 18Gbps and 22Gbps during the first live trial of 5G in Australia with Telstra; use its 28GHz radios, virtualised RAN (vRAN), and full 5G virtualised core for trials with AT&T; attain speeds of over 6Gbps during trials with Verizon during the Indianapolis 500 motor race in addition to working with Verizon on 11 pre-commercial 5G trial networks across the US; and achieve 1Gbps speeds with 5G-connected cars in partnership with Intel, Toyota, Denso, and NTT DoCoMo.