Singtel and Ericsson have conducted a live trial of pre-standard License Assisted Access (LAA) on Singtel's 4G network earlier this month as part of its bid to achieve 5G.
The LAA has a listen-before-talk (LBT) functionality which ensures the coexistence with other Wi-Fi devices on the same unlicensed spectrum.
"This means that customers will enjoy more consistent and faster speeds while watching their favorite videos and listening to music on their mobile phones. We are pleased to be the first in Singapore to showcase LAA technology live. This is an integral part of the LTE-Advanced evolution and will bring us one step closer to our 5G goals," said Tay Yeow Lian, Managing Director of Networks for Consumer Singapore at Singtel.
In a joint press release, the two companies said the trial was completed after a two-week period of extensive testing using multiple RBS 6402 indoor small cells, prototype LAA devices, Wi-Fi access points and devices.
Singtel provided the licensed spectrum of 1800 MHz (20 MHz) for the LTE anchor carrier, and augmented it with 5GHz unlicensed spectrum (20 MHz) in its live network deployed in an office building at Serangoon North.
The first test was conducted to demonstrate the carrier aggregation of unlicensed spectrum to deliver a higher throughput. The companies said a stationary live test at the office building recorded an LTE LAA throughput of 275 Mbps.
On the second test, Singtel and Ericsson tested the ability of LAA to co-exist with Wi-Fi signals without affecting user experience. In line, it was found that users are better off with LAA as a neighbour and maintained a consistent downlink throughput with and without the LAA.
On the final stage, the companies conducted a coverage testing to demonstrate the ability of LAA to have better link performance, medium access control, mobility management, and excellent coverage as compared to Wi-Fi Access point. They also tested if LAA could consistently provide higher user throughput speeds through seamless handover between multiple small cell and across various radio conditions.
Singtel estimated that an extensive implementation of LAA will potentially provide additional network capacity boost for mobile customers.
"5G standards do not yet exist but 5G is expected to be an evolution of today's LTE networks along with new radio technologies and use cases. Ericsson and Singtel are very focused on technologies like LAA, which 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) towards 5G," said Martin Wiktorin, Country Manager of Ericsson Singapore and Brunei.
Following the successful trial, Singtel will deploy the LAA service in Singapore over the next two years from the first half of 2017. New handset models also that support LAA are expected to be available by early next year.
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