FCC asks how LTE can share the airwaves with Wi-Fi
May 5, 2015
A way to let cellular operators share Wi-Fi frequencies without jamming up Internet service is now in the spotlight at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
On Tuesday, the agency asked for public comments on LTE-U (LTE-Unlicensed), which Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, SK Telecom and other operators are exploring as a way to get more spectrum for better service. The FCC wants to know how LTE-U might affect Wi-Fi and other services. Comments are due June 11.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other technologies run over unlicensed frequencies that are open to any device approved by the FCC, while mobile operators’ LTE networks use frequency bands licensed exclusively for the carrier’s use. But licensed spectrum is expensive—bids in the latest U.S. mobile auction topped US$40 billion—and may not always be enough to serve a lot of subscribers in one area. So some operators want to send part of their LTE traffic over the unlicensed frequencies.