Vint-Cerf--Megan-Smith-Marty-CooperVint Cerf, Megan Smith, Marty CooperWith congestion already a problem, do we want more traffic from telcos? Is it smart to give up 25%-75% of the bandwdith for telco LTE? "LAA" is seeing a huge push in 3GPP and elsewhere. Giant telcos want to make this happen incredibly fast although no one has done field trials to prove the sharing can work. They want to create "facts on the ground" before the regulator, much less the public, even know what's going on.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray says they will deploy in 2015, Verizon's Tony Melone is not far behind and AT&T is working in standards. SK in Korea and all the equipment guys are jumping on. More than half of traffic now goes on WiFi but the telcos can't charge for it in most countries. So they are moving the free WiFi calls to LTE "Assisted Access" so they can charge. If they clobber WiFi in the process, better for them. If all the current uncharged WiFi traffic moved to LTE, most phone bills would double or triple. 

Kevin Smithen and Will Clayton of Macquarie broke the story, which was picked by by Fierce, Jan Brodkin and Kevin Fitchard. Telcos grabbing a big hunk of WiFi is about as important a mobile story as I can imagine, but I couldn't find even a single report in a major newspaper. WSJ, NYT, WP and the Guardian haven't even mentioned LAA.   

I believe that new WiFi applications will switch even more traffic to WiFi and reduce consumer costs. For example, Marconi fellow John Cioffi has shown a way to a home gigabit using WiFI and DSL.Many agree with me that more WiFi spectrum is the most efficient way to deliver more capacity to all of us, although Marconi Fellow Marty Cooper points to technical advantages of LTE. Informally, the U.S. FCC has decided that at least half of the 3.5 GHz spectrum coming available will be available for WiFi. (WiFi Alliance note below) 

Currently, most phone companies charge for traffic on their LTE but not for WiFi traffic. If they did, the average phone bill would double or triple. This gives telcos a powerful incentive to reduce the use and availability of WiFi. That doesn't make them evil, just ordinary businesses looking for maximum profit. Of course they will try to tilt standards their way. The suppliers - Ericsson and Qualcomm are the most visible - nearly always go along with the telcos, their largest customers. (Ericsson note below)

It's crucial that the decisions on WiFi-LTE standards be done in an open fashion, with a strong role for those who put the consumer first. A natural way to do that would be for the IETF, backed by ISOC and governments, to extend their liaison role with those working on standards. At ITU, for example, ISOC can appoint as many delegates as they like to any standards committee, as discussed by Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré and ISOC President Kathy Brown in Busan.

The public needs to have a role, alongside the industry, because $hundreds of billions are involved.

Picture: Vint Cerf, U.S. CTO Megan and Marty Cooper at the 2014 Marconi Gala. At a Marconi webinar, Cooper pointed to the efficiency of LTE, at least until WiFI gets better congestion tools. 

 (Note - I've asked Ericsson, Qualcomm, Verizon and others for comments to update this article. Additional release added Feb 26) 

Wi-Fi Alliance® statement on License-Assisted Access (LAA)

Austin, TX, February 9, 2015 - Unlicensed spectrum is one of society’s most valuable resources. The Wi-Fi® industry’s innovation, promotion and good stewardship of the unlicensed 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands has helped deliver significant benefits to users and driven immense economic value worldwide.

As U.S. Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated in her recent remarks to the 2015 State of the Net Conference, "Wi-Fi is a boon to the economy. The economic impact of unlicensed spectrum has been estimated at more than $140 billion annually and it's only going to grow." Indeed, numerous studies (see Katz and Plum Consulting) assess the worldwide economic value of Wi-Fi in hundreds of billions of dollars.

Wi-Fi exemplifies innovation, delivering higher-performance connectivity and carrying more data traffic than cellular networks. In the last 15 years, Wi-Fi data rates have advanced from 11 Mbps to exceed 1 Gbps – and continued innovation will deliver Wi-Fi data rates exceeding 5 Gbps within a few short years. The growing worldwide demand for connectivity cannot be supported without Wi-Fi. Today, Wi-Fi carries ten times the IP data traffic of cellular.

5 GHz spectrum is a critical element of today’s Wi-Fi – it is widely used to support the capacity and performance requirements of our connected world. Since its introduction in 2001, 5 GHz Wi-Fi has expanded its reach well beyond enterprise networks into billions of consumer devices used worldwide.  

Wi-Fi Alliance® is aware of 3GPP work addressing LTE operation in the unlicensed 5 GHz band, known as LAA, as well as early deployments of pre-standard LAA-like systems. There is a risk that LAA, and especially pre-standard systems deployed ahead of coexistence work being done in the industry, will negatively impact billions of Wi-Fi users who rely on 5 GHz today for networking and device connectivity. It is generally agreed in principle that fair sharing is required, but there needs to be further work from all parties to address this risk in practice.

The future value of unlicensed spectrum is dependent upon good stewardship by all technologies that share the resource. The LTE and Wi-Fi communities must work toward a mutually understood fair and effective use of the 5 GHz band and ensure that there are no adverse effects to the installed base and future users of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Alliance is planning collaboration with 3GPP, and is eager to work with those planning pre-standard deployments to help them continue to satisfy the expectations of Wi-Fi users.

Wi-Fi Alliance will also continue to support regulators in their attempts to understand this emerging technology and its implications. We plan to work with regulators and industry stakeholders toward an industry-led outcome that avoids heavy regulation and ensures that users are able to benefit from Wi-Fi well into the future.

- See more at:



License Assisted Access live in Ericsson Labs for Verizon, SK Telecom and T-Mobile

2015-02-10 Categories: Press Releases

  • Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. combine licensed and 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum on small cells to deliver data-speed boost up to 450 Mbps
  • Verizon, SK Telecom and T-Mobile US, Inc. executives observe License Assisted Access (LAA) peak rate and fair-sharing demonstrations in Ericsson labs in Canada and Sweden
  • Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to demonstrate LAA at Mobile World Congress 2015

Last month at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) announced License Assisted Access (LAA), sometimes referred to as LTE-U, a mobile technology innovation that improves indoor app coverage for smartphone users. LAA is live in Ericsson labs and is now supporting the aggregation of licensed and unlicensed spectrum for peak rates up to 450 Mbps and enabling fair sharing of spectrum between mobile and Wi-Fi devices. The technology milestone has been achieved in cooperation with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated. Leading mobile operators, including Verizon, SK Telecom and T-Mobile US, Inc. are already investigating the performance benefits that LAA can offer to mobile customers on their networks.

Ed Chan, Senior Vice President, Network Planning, Verizon, says: "Verizon is committed to researching and adopting new technologies that will consistently improve the performance of our network and ultimately the experience we deliver to our customers. We are encouraged by the headway that Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have made in demonstrating the benefits LAA can provide."

Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center, SK Telecom, says: "SK Telecom is very active in the development of 5G technologies, which will be an extension and evolution of our LTE network. We are delighted to achieve the successful trial of the 450Mbps LAA and fair-sharing technology with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies and will continue to work closely with them to secure advanced network technologies."

LAA, or LTE-U, extends the benefits of LTE to unlicensed spectrum, providing reliable and predictable performance. The licensed band provides an anchor to ensure a seamless user experience with full mobility while the unlicensed band provides incremental capacity and enables faster data speeds.

Neville Ray, Chief Technical Officer, T-Mobile , says: "It is very encouraging to see License Assisted Access live in the Ericsson labs already delivering on the promises of both a better mobile broadband customer experience and the fair sharing and co-existence within the 5 GHz band among wireless and Wi-Fi devices. With over 500 MHz of underutilized spectrum in the 5 GHz Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (UNII) band, LAA can provide our customers with superior network performance while effectively co-existing with other Wi-Fi devices to ensure a better experience for all wireless users."

Ericsson LAA incorporates fair sharing within the 5 GHz band to accommodate traditional Wi-Fi users. Fair sharing works on the principle that Wi-Fi and LAA users would have equal access to the spectrum. 

The lab trials of both LAA fair sharing and licensed-unlicensed aggregation - 20 MHz on licensed band and 40 MHz on unlicensed 5 GHz band - were demonstrated in cooperation with Qualcomm, from the Ericsson radio development units in Ottawa, Canada and Stockholm, Sweden.

Neville Meijers, Vice President, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., says: "Qualcomm Technologies shares Ericsson's commitment to delivering groundbreaking technologies that could have a dramatic impact on mobile user experiences. Our cooperation on delivering this live LTE-U demonstration for leading mobile operators around the world is just the latest of many industry innovations where Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson have driven the interoperability efforts that are critical to commercialization."

Starting in the fourth quarter 2015, Ericsson is adding LAA to its indoor small cell portfolio, including the Ericsson RBS 6402 Indoor Picocell (targeted at smaller buildings under 50,000 square feet) followed by the Ericsson Radio Dot System (for medium and large buildings).

Thomas Nor�n, Vice President and Head of Radio Product Management, Ericsson, says: "Carrier Aggregation was an important technology trend for mobile networks in 2014 and LAA is already set to be a key focus for mobile operators in 2015. Innovations like LAA that improve the user experience while increasing spectrum efficiency will be significant milestones that mobile industry leaders must both drive and support."

5G standards do not yet exist but are expected to be an evolution of today's LTE networks along with new radio technologies and use cases. LAA's use of higher frequencies on small cell architectures and the aggregation of licensed with unlicensed spectrum bands reflect 5G technology focus areas. These will be key to operators as they evolve their LTE networks to support increasing mobile broadband demand from consumers, businesses and the Internet of Things (IoT).

For a demonstration of LAA at Mobile World Congress 2015, visit Ericsson in Hall 2, Stand 2N60, and visit Qualcomm in Hall 3, Stand 3E10


Qualcomm Extends LTE to Unlicensed Spectrum to Enhance Mobile Experiences and Help Operators Meet Network Capacity Demand


Published: Feb 26, 2015 6:00 p.m. ET


Qualcomm Technologies Advances LTE-U Ecosystem with Integration into Small Cells and Mobile Devices, and Proves Co-existence with Wi-Fi


SAN DIEGO, Feb. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- To address the increasing demand for mobile data, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm IncorporatedQCOM, +0.63% is extending LTE to unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U), and today announced that it has integrated the technology into its latest small cell solutions and RF transceivers for mobile devices. Qualcomm Technologies also announced that it successfully completed over-the-air testing to prove co-existence between multiple LTE-U and Wi-Fi access points in the unlicensed spectrum under extreme load conditions. Qualcomm Technologies will showcase its new solutions with a number of LTE-U demonstrations at Mobile World Congress, March 2-5 in Barcelona, Spain.

"As the Internet enters a new phase of growth, in which more devices are connected and share richer data, there is a need to cost effectively address the challenges of a 1000x increase in mobile data traffic. To do this, we need a combination of more spectrum, more efficient use of existing spectrum, and more small cells," said Matt Grob, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and chief technology officer. "Our job is to help the industry make the best use of all available spectrum, using both LTE and Wi-Fi technologies, to increase capacity."

Extending LTE Advanced to unlicensed spectrum helps operators meet increased capacity needs and enhance their mobile broadband services. LTE-U is designed to augment operators' services to use channels in the less crowded 5 GHz unlicensed bands, and uses several coexistence features to support fair share use among the multiple users and technologies that access those bands.

Extending the benefits of LTE to unlicensed spectrum is designed to provide:

  • Reliable and predictable performance with an anchor in the licensed spectrum;
  • Seamless user experience/mobility;
  • Better performance than either LTE or Wi-Fi used individually, with longer range and more capacity; and,
  • Additional capacity for carriers to augment mobile broadband.

Integration of LTE-U into Qualcomm Technologies small cells solutions portfolioQualcomm Technologies is announcing the first integration of LTE-U into a small cell SoC to expand capacity and seamlessly extend LTE networks. TheFSM99xx, a family of small cell SoCs, will add LTE-U and be available in the second half of 2015. The FSM99xx solutions integrate Qualcomm Technologies' 3G and 4G and support its Qualcomm® VIVE™ 802.11ac/n Wi-Fi to enable full-featured small cells that provide superior performance with greater power efficiency.

"The FSM99xx family is designed to bring outdoor, enterprise and small and medium business access points to the next level of value and performance," said Neville Meijers, vice president of business development, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Adding LTE-U technology to our small cell solutions will provide additional capacity for operators to augment existing mobile broadband and deliver seamless connectivity experiences."

Along with integration of LTE-U into the FSM99xx product family, Qualcomm Technologies is announcing the FTR8950 as the first dedicated RF solution for small cells designed to meet the requirements of LTE-U operation and network listen in unlicensed 5 GHz bands. Qualcomm Technologies' newest small cell RF transceiver is a successor to the FTR8900 RFIC and supports features such as digital pre-distortion and dedicated network listen.

First announced commercial RF transceiver for LTE-UQualcomm Technologies is also announcing the WTR3950 as the industry's first dedicated RF solution for mobile devices designed to meet the requirements of LTE-U operation in unlicensed 5 GHz bands. Qualcomm Technologies' newest 28 nm RF transceiver offers an industry-leading footprint and will be commercially sampling in the second half of 2015.

The WTR3950 extends Qualcomm Technologies' RF product leadership in LTE Advanced, which is based on successful commercialization of single-chip RF transceivers for LTE carrier aggregation. The WTR3950 pairs with the WTR3925, the first 28 nm RF for single chip Cat 6 carrier aggregation, to support up to 3x20 MHz carrier aggregation across licensed and unlicensed spectrum. The WTR3950 can also support up to 40 MHz intra-band contiguous carrier aggregation in the 5 GHz bands.

Successful testing of LTE-U and Wi-Fi coexistenceIn order for LTE-U to provide maximum benefit, it must operate harmoniously alongside billions of existing Wi-Fi devices. Qualcomm Technologies is working to integrate LTE and Wi-Fi at the system level, and employs a robust set of protection features to promote the best possible co-existence between LTE-U and Wi-Fi networks. These innovations are designed to ensure users can connect to the Internet however they prefer, while operators can make unified use of all available spectrum to increase capacity. This is designed to result in easier and cost-effective network deployment and operations for carriers and a seamless experience for their consumers.

In its San Diego, Calif. headquarters, Qualcomm Technologies engineers deployed a state-of-the-art network comprising multiple Wi-Fi access points and LTE-U small cells – all operating in a single channel in the unlicensed 5GHz band – to evaluate real-life performance and interference in multiple scenarios. After extensive testing that replicated extremely dense radio conditions, the data concluded that LTE-U can not only provide superior performance than either LTE or Wi-Fi used individually, but fairly coexists with Wi-Fi. In many cases, shifting traffic from Wi-Fi to LTE-U can actually improve performance for Wi-Fi users, due to the efficient way that LTE uses the unlicensed spectrum.

Testing scenarios included both "adaptive duty-cycle" based coexistence which is suitable for commercial LTE-U deployments in countries such as the US, China and Korea using LTE Release 10 and beyond, as well as Listen Before Talk (LBT) based techniques that are proposed through a work item for an upcoming release of the LTE standard, Release 13, which is expected to define a version of LTE-U known as Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA), suitable for deployments in other regions such as Europe and Japan.

LTE-U demonstrations at Mobile World Congress 2015At Mobile World Congress 2015 in BarcelonaMarch 2-5, Qualcomm Technologies will conduct live demonstrations of the co-existence between LTE-U and Wi-Fi at booth #3E10. Also at the show, Qualcomm Technologies will participate in a number of live LTE-U demonstrations using Qualcomm's test user equipment. At the show, Qualcomm Technologies is collaborating with operators, such as KT, and infrastructure vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Networks, Samsung, and test and measurement equipment manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz.

About Qualcomm IncorporatedQualcomm Incorporated QCOM, +0.63% is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm's website,OnQ blogTwitter and Facebook pages.

Qualcomm and VIVE are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Other product and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. VIVE and FSM are products of Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.

Qualcomm Contacts: 
Laurie Falconer, Qualcomm Atheros 
Phone: 1-408-652-0632 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emily Kilpatrick, Corporate Communications 
Phone: 1-858-845-5959 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Warren Kneeshaw, Investor Relations 
Phone: 1-858-658-4813 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.