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Evolution of LTE in Release 13

February 18, 2015

by Dino Flore, 3GPP RAN Chairman, 

This article provides a brief overview of the main projects approved so far by 3GPP RAN for the evolution of LTE in Release 13. While a few more projects may be approved in the coming months, the list below gives a good idea on how LTE is being evolved to meet various market demands.

Recent News

LTE completes a full 360 in 2014

January 7, 2015

The latest update of the Evolution to LTE report from the GSA announces that 360 operators have now commercially launched LTE networks and services - with 107 of them deploying or trialling LTE-Advanced technologies.

As usual the report is packed with statistical data that uncovers some of the major trends in the LTE market;

  • FDD mode is dominant - with 312 of the operators deploying FDD mode only (31 TDD only, 17 deployed both)
  • Most used spectrum is 1800 MHz with 158 LTE1800 networks in 76 countries
  • Next comes 2.6 GHz - in over 25% of networks.
  • 80 operators are investing in VoLTE deployments, studies or trials
  • LTE roaming is a market reality and increasingly commonplace 

3GPP & unlicensed spectrum

January 2015

The Chairman of 3GPP RAN, Dino Flore, presented the status of 3GPP activities related to unlicensed spectrum at the IEEE 802 meeting this month, in Atlanta.

In his presentation, Dino Flore described the progress of 3GPP RAN’s feasibility study on LTE over unlicensed spectrum (aka LAA) as well as the 3GPP activities to enhance LTE/Wi-Fi interworking.

The LAA Study Item is scheduled for completion in June 2015 (3GPP TR 36.889), paving the way for the specification work to be completed in the Release 13 timeframe (March 2016). The main goal of the Study Item is to identify the enhancements needed for LTE to operate in unlicensed spectrum and to ensure fair coexistence with Wi-Fi.

In his presentation the RAN Chairman stressed that “Licensed spectrum remains 3GPP operators’ top priority to deliver advanced services and user experience” but noted that the “opportunistic use of unlicensed spectrum is now becoming an important complement for 3GPP operators to meet the growing traffic demand.”

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