The 5G Standard

LTE in unlicensed spectrum

Jun 18, 2014

June 19, 2014 - Sophia Antipolis, France

A workshop to share ideas on LTE in unlicensed spectrum has been described as a “fruitful contribution to the start of work in the project” as it is considered by cellular operators as an important complement to meet future traffic demands.

In his summing up Dino Flore, Workshop & 3GPP TSG-RAN Chairman, looked at the main deployment options and requirements emerging from the discussion, calling for interested companies to work offline on a 3GPP Study Item proposal that will define the scope of the technical work, which will be discussed in the regular 3GPP approval process from the next meeting in September 2014.

Some major observations:

  • Early focus to be on unlicensed operation in 5 GHz. However, the core technology should be as frequency agnostic as possible.
  • While different regional requirements emerged from the discussion, most of the companies prefer 3GPP to focus on the standardization of a global solution that can work across regions.
  • Strong interest to study both indoor and outdoor deployments.
  • Initial focus will likely be on Licensed-Assisted Carrier Aggregation operation to aggregate a primary cell, using licensed spectrum, to deliver critical information and guaranteed Quality of Service, and a co-located secondary cell, using unlicensed spectrum, to opportunistically boost datarate.
    • Two available options: (1) Secondary cell on unlicensed spectrum used for supplemental downlink capacity only, (2) Secondary cell on unlicensed spectrum used for both supplemental downlink and uplink capacity. Many companies propose to start working on (1) and then follow with (2)
  • Fair coexistence between LTE and other technologies such as WiFi as well as between LTE operators is seen necessary.

Dino Flore noted; “Initial results suggest that, when augmented with the appropriate coexistence mechanisms to operate in unlicensed spectrum, e.g. Listen-Before-Talk, LTE can effectively coexist with Wifi and outperform it in terms of spectral efficiency”

176 participants listened to presentations (See links below) that covered the full range of solutions that will now be studied.






LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum: European Regulation and Co-existence Considerations

Nokia Corporation

The presentation discusses European Regulation and Co-existence Considerations of LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum. In the co-existence considerations both LTE in unlicensed spectrum and WLAN co-existence aspects and more than one LTE in unlicensed spectrum deployments are considered.


AT&T Perspectives on LTE in unlicensed spectrum


AT&T Perspectives on Assisted Access for LTE


CableLabs perspectives on LTE-U coexistence with Wi-Fi and operational modes for LTE-U

Cable Television Laboratories (CableLabs), Rogers, Benu Networks, Ruckus Wireless

This contribution presents impacts of LTE on Wi-Fi networks and explores potential LTE-U coexistence requirements. Benefits and requirements of an LTE-U standalone operation mode are also presented.


Scenarios, spectrum considerations and preliminary assessment results of U-LTE


This document presents the foreseen deployment scenarios for the licensed-assisted use of LTE in unlicensed spectrum, as well as an analysis of the band combinations for operating LTE in the 5 GHz band. Preliminary assessment of the performance of LTE in unlicensed band is provided by simulations investigating the coexistence of LTE with other unlicensed systems. Field test results may also be provided.


A look at the requirements for LTE in the Unlicensed Bands

InterDigital Communications

LTE deployment in the unlicensed band has the possibility to greatly enhance the services provided by LTE.  However there is a need to agree on global coexistence requirements and define a common methodology to inter-operate in shared spectrum to make the work complete and timely


T-MOBILE USA View on LTE Carrier Aggregation with Unlicensed Spectrum

T-Mobile USA

This contribution presents T-Mobile USA view on the usage of unlicensed spectrum carrier aggregation with LTE. It further provides guidelines which aspects the RAN SI should be focused on.


Extending the benefits of LTE to unlicensed spectrum


This slideset will describe Qualcomm's view on the introduction of LTE into unlicensed spectrum, covering 4 areas: benefits, spectrum aspects, features & performance evaluation, and standardization.


Consideration of Unlicensed LTE Spectrum in China

China Unicom

Analysis of the regulation of 5GHz spectrum in China and consider the possible spectrum for U-LTE; Propose consideration of standardization of U-LTE in 5GHz


Requirements and Proposed Coexistence Topics for the LTE-U Study


This presentation introduces and proposes coexistence topics for further study within a potential SI/WI. Furthermore requirements based on 3GPP/Wi-Fi coexistence use cases are listed.


An operator view on LTE in unlicensed spectrum


From a mobile operator perspective, possible opportunities and threats with LTE-Unlicensed is discussed. TeliaSonera’s view on the way forward for 3GPP is given.


LTE Operation in Unlicensed Spectrum

Texas Instruments

In this contribution we present our views on LTE operation in the unlicensed spectrum. We provide an initial feasibility analysis taking into account regulatory, market and technical requirements.


On the Standardisation of LTE on unlicensed spectrum

Alcatel-Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell

In this presentation, a standardization plan for LTE-U in Release 13 is proposed with consideration of the different phase approaches.


Review of Regulatory Requirements for Unlicensed Spectrum

Alcatel-Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell, Ericsson, Huawei, HiSilicon, IAESI, LG, Nokia, NSN, Qualcomm, NTT Docomo

A regulatory review of unlicensed spectrum in various countries is provided.


Performance evaluation of LTE in unlicensed spectrum


In this contribution, we provide evaluation methodology of LTE-U and initial evaluation results of LTE operation in unlicensed band.


Hitachi Perspectives on LTE-U

Hitachi, Ltd

This document summarizes Hitachi's viewpoints on LTE-U. It discusses the deployment scenarios of interest, the operations, regulations and technical requirements needed to operate LTE in the unlicensed bands.


LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum

Intel Corporation

The ever increasing demand for mobile data is fuelling a new wave of innovations to increase the capacity of cellular networks. As opportunities for conventional licensed spectrum below 6 GHz are becoming scarce, other spectrum frequency bands, such as unlicensed bands, have gained attention. However, operating on unlicensed spectrum may have design implications on LTE that are not yet well understood. In particular, co-existence between multiple LTE operators sharing the unlicensed band and co-existence with other systems, such as 802.11 WLAN, should be studied and addressed.


Considerations on LTE-U in Rel-13


This contribution presents our views on LTE deployment in unlicensed spectrum, including requirements and technical design aspects.


Use Cases & Scenarios for Licensed Assisted Access

Verizon, CMCC, Huawei, Ericsson

This presentation is solely focused on use cases & scenarios of highest interest for Licensed Assisted Access. The goal is to help the industry converge on the most important & highest priority cases to cover in Rel-13 timeframe


Discussion on LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum


This contribution presents our views on a licensed-assisted access using LTE for unlicensed spectrum.It discusses the focused deployment scenarios, the operations and technical requirements.It further provides consideration of standardization of LTE-U.


Discussion on Licensed-Assisted LTE

Broadcom Corporation

There is a general need for global, unified and increased amount contiguous spectrum for wireless use and in 3GPP Rel-13, standardization of licensed assisted LTE-U has the potential for of addressing this increased bandwidth need. LTE in unlicensed band should be standardized if technical studies show that proper co-existence mechanisms can be introduced and industry agreement for an unambiguous, global and standardized solution can be reached. Rel-13 standardization should focus on LTE in unlicensed band as supplemental DL.


KT Perspective on LTE in unlicensed spectrum


KT Perspective on LTE in unlicensed spectrum


KDDI Proposals on Technology Requirement Clarification

KDDI Corporation

This contribution proposes to clarify technology requirement on LTE in un-licensed band and gives our considerations on that.


Co-existence considerations for LTE-U


This paper will discuss co-existence considerations for LTE-U to inter-operate with other incumbent technologies in the unlicensed spectrum band.


Views on licensed-assisted access (LAA) for Unlicensed Spectrum - Scenarios and Initial Evaluation Results


Unlicensed spectrum can be considered as an effective complement although licensed spectrum is always preferable for providing better user experience. In the contribution, we present our views on a licensed-assisted access using LTE for unlicensed spectrum and provide initial evaluation results.


On integration of unlicensed spectrum

BlackBerry UK Ltd.

An overview of approaches to integrate unlicensed spectrum into operator deployed networks, including feature comparisons and understanding how these might map to potential/candidate requirements.


Consideration of LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum


Some key scenarios and possible technical solutions for use of unlicensed/shared spectrum by LTE-based systems will be reviewed. The main pros and cons of the different options and possible implications for the scope of a RAN study item will be considered.


Chairman's summary of workshop on LTE in unlicensed spectrum

RAN chairman (Qualcomm)


Draft report of 3GPP workshop on LTE in unlicensed spectrum, held in Sophia Antipolis, France, 13.06.2014



Consideration on LTE operation in unlicensed spectrum

LG Electronics

In this presentation, LG's view on standardization of LTE-U in 3GPP is provided together with several aspects that should be taken into account for LTE operation in unlicensed spectrum.

 Contact for this article: Kevin FLYNN, Marketing and Communications Officer, 3GPP

Further Reading

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