U.S.-based semiconductor designer Broadcom, Finland-based multinational Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) and Finnish mobile and fixed line operator Elisa have demonstrated LTE Advanced (LTE-A) service on a live commercial network. The end-to-end test was completed on Elisa’s LTE network in Finland, with Broadcom’s LTE-A Category 6 technology with inter-band carrier aggregation, using NSN’s Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station. A speed of 300 Mbps was achieved by aggregating two 20 MHz channels in the 1800-MHz band and the 2600-MHz band. Broadcom will be demonstrating LTE-A on NSN infrastructure at the upcoming Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona from 24–27 February.
Europe appears to be moving one step closer to the ultra-high mobile speeds of tomorrow. Up until now, LTE-A deployments in Europe took place only in very small, closed environments, such as EE’s test of a mini-network in East London’s Tech City and Vodafone’s demonstration at the Technical University of Dresden. This Finnish deployment appears to be broader-based, running on a live commercial network, and it achieved a speed equal to that of EE’s experiment and higher than Vodafone’s 225 Mbps. The worldwide leader in LTE-A is almost certain to be South Korea, where SK Telecom has announced nationwide commercial deployment in the second half of 2014. That evolution makes sense in light of the fact that the country has the world’s highest penetration of LTE service at 62 percent.
Still, even in other developed markets where standard 4G LTE is still being rolled out, such as Europe, we believe it is likely that LTE-A will soon be in demand, given the levels of data consumption we are seeing. To respond to that demand and keep data-hungry customers satisfied, European and American operators such as Elisa will likely seek partnerships with technology firms to develop and implement band-aggregating systems. As Eetu Prieur, Elisa’s Head of Access Networks, said in a statement, “This live network demonstration with 300 Mbps mobile data speed is a great example of the possibilities of the mobile technology. It’s a major step towards delivering the best possible experience to our customers. In addition to the extremely high maximum data speeds, it will also offer much more capacity for mobile broadband customers.”