LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) smalls cell market is expected to reach nearly $2 Billion by the end of 2020, according to SNS Research's latest report. Driven by the promise of higher capacity in unlicensed spectrum, LTE-U small cell shipments are expected to grow at a CAGR of 80% between 2016 and 2020, contributing revenues of nearly US$2 billion by the end of 2020.
The LTE-U technology uses unlicensed spectrum bands to transmit LTE signals, and pairs them with licensed LTE signals to preserve the necessary control signaling and scheduling required for a reliable connection. It extends the benefits of LTE and LTE Advanced, enabling mobile operators to offload data traffic onto unlicensed frequencies more efficiently and effectively.
Primarily targeting the 5 GHz WiFi spectrum, early trials of the technology have demonstrated significant capacity leaps. Ericsson last month, in collaboration with Qualcomm, has showcased a live demonstration of License Assisted Access (LAA) applications such as peak rate and fair-sharing to leading mobile operators, including Verizon, SK Telecom and T-Mobile US. In another initiative, Korean wireless carrier LG Uplus showed its LTE-U trial achieving twice the speed of its commercial LTE-A service, by combining 60 MHz of unlicensed 5.8 GHz spectrum with 20 MHz in the licensed LTE spectrum.
With LTE-U, Operators can offer consumers a more robust and seamless mobile broadband experience with better coverage and faster download speeds.