LTE Advanced: mobile broadband up to 10 times faster

Consumers in Sweden were the first in the world to experience commercial LTE services. Ericsson demonstrated the next step of LTE, known as LTE Advanced, to the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS). The demonstration, held in Kista, Sweden, featured speeds more than 10 times faster than those currently experienced by LTE consumers in Sweden.

The system, based on commercial hardware, was operating on a test frequency provided by the PTS. This enabled Ericsson to demonstrate LTE Advanced functionality such as carrier aggregation of 3 x 20MHz (60MHz aggregated) over the air in a mobile environment for the first time.

Urban Landmark, Head of Spectrum Department of Swedish regulator PTS, says: “Sweden is in the forefront when it comes to usage of mobile broadband. Sweden was both early with licensing of harmonized spectrum in the 2.6GHz and 800MHz bands, and the first country in the world where LTE was commercially deployed. The demonstration today indicates that mobile broadband technologies continue to evolve rapidly.”

LTE Advanced will further enhance the speed and capacity that will be needed in the Networked Society in the years to come. The technology is compliant with the 3GPP Release 10 global standard. Recently, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) also selected LTE Advanced as one of the technologies that fulfills International Mobile Telecommunication’s criteria. The first stages of LTE Advanced are expected to be in commercial operation in 2013.

“Ericsson encourages all regulators to allocate harmonized spectrum as early as possible,” says Ulf Ewaldsson, Vice President and Head of Product Area Radio, Ericsson. “The next step of LTE enhances the current service offering, performance and data speed even further. It provides operators with the opportunity to capitalize further on their existing infrastructure. Once again, Ericsson is committed to supporting operators’ needs as expectations and requirements for mobile broadband services increase.”

The enhancements introduced with LTE Advanced include carrier aggregation and extended multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) functionality. From a user perspective, this means that information can be retrieved and sent much faster, even when the network is congested. This, in combination with the faster speeds, improves the user experience significantly.

The demo system was based on Ericsson’s multi-mode, multi-standard radio base station, RBS 6000. Live traffic was streamed between the RBS and a moving van from which network performance could be monitored. In the demonstration, 60MHz of aggregated bandwidth was used, compared to the 20MHz maximum that is currently possible using LTE. In the downlink, 8×8 MIMO was used.

In 2010, the technology’s first year of operation, the number of users with access to LTE networks rose from 0 to 150 million people. Ericsson supplied the majority of these commercial LTE networks and has signed contracts with six of the world’s top seven operators ranked by 2010 global revenues.

Ericsson is the prime driver of open standards and has had a greater impact than any other player on the LTE specifications released to date. Ericsson expects to hold 25 percent of all essential patents for LTE in the industry.