Galaxy S5 could be the first phone on the carrier to support the new network

The mobile network space is an ever-changing landscape, and AT&T is trying to keep up with the crowd by officially launching LTE-Advanced in at least one U.S. market. According to an interview with GigaOM, AT&T said it has officially launched a new LTE-Advanced network in Chicago by making use of a technology called “carrier aggregation.” That sounds fancy, but it isn’t an entirely new concept in mobile networks — the basic idea is that if a carrier doesn’t have a large swath of spectrum that is continuous, carrier aggregation lets it pull together separate pieces of spectrum to form a single, faster connection.

The new network will make use of both 700MHz and 2100MHz (AWS) spectrum, at least in Chicago, together to offer a 15MHz wide downlink —that means a theoretical download speed of 110mbps. It doens’t make the overall capacity of AT&T’s network in these new markets any higher, but it does increase efficiency when you have more customers on a single pipe.

AT&T is the first carrier in the U.S. to make use of carrier aggregation (though Sprint’s Spark network is doing similar things) and launch LTE-Advanced, but it’s more out of necessity than innovation. Verizon and T-Mobile have swapped and purchased spectrum to have large chunks of continuous waves to have their networks on, offering faster speeds without any fancy tactics.

Source: GigaOM


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