In a new filing with the FCC, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is working to address concerns expressed by the cable industry and other groups that services based on LTE Unlicensed (LTE-U) and License Assisted Access (LAA) technology could create radio interference with existing technologies, such as Wi-Fi.
"The record demonstrates that LTE Unlicensed will provide consumers with a vastly improved user experience and fairly share spectrum with Wi-Fi and other uses without any adverse impact," Qualcomm states in the filing. "Many wireless industry stakeholders, including Qualcomm, have a strong vested interest in this result as they rely heavily on the continued success and evolution of Wi-Fi."
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has been among a number of entities that have expressed concern over LTE-U and LAA. In a recent filing, the NCTA said the introduction of the technologies could hurt the cable industry's push into Wi-Fi, since all the technologies are intended to co-exist in unlicensed spectrum bands.
The NCTA said that, left unregulated, mobile phones could turn into jamming devices, capable of not only interfering with cable Wi-Fi, but also things like baby monitors. "Widespread deployment of LTE-U or LAA would therefore harm American consumers, schools and innovators by dramatically reducing the utility of the unlicensed bands for everyone but the companies that already hold licensed spectrum," a statement by NCTA read.
Responded Qualcomm: "We have shown numerous demonstrations to key Wi-Fi equipment vendors and service providers in our labs and over the air on our San Diego campus in hyper-dense settings showing LTE Unlicensed successfully coexisting with Wi-Fi. Qualcomm's demonstrations have proven that adding a neighboring LTE Unlicensed node does not impact an existing Wi-Fi node any more than would adding another Wi-Fi node. In fact, in many cases, replacing a Wi-Fi node with an LTE-U node improves throughput for nearby Wi-Fi users."
Interestingly, Qualcomm is developing a standalone version of LTE-U, MuLTEfire, which doesn't rely on licensed spectrum. The technology doesn't require an "anchor" in licensed spectrum like LTE-U and LAA do. It could therefore allow companies like cable operators to deploy LTE directly into unlicensed spectrum.
- read this FCC filing
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