Wireless Carriers Aggregate Four Channels

Mobile World Congress

Wireless carriers, T-Mobile and Etisalat by e&, are taking carrier aggregation (CA), a method of increasing the data rate per user with multiple frequency blocks assigned to the same user, to the next level: four carriers. It is one of the first times CA has been pushed to four carriers, but are the speeds that much higher?

T-Mobile announced at the Mobile World Congress this week that it has achieved the four-carrier CA data call on a commercial device, combining mid‑band spectrum to hit a peak speed of 3.3 Gbps. In this test, two channels of 2.5 GHz Ultra Capacity 5G and two channels of 1900 MHz spectrum were merged, creating an effective 225 MHz 5G channel. The call was completed on its 5G SA network with a Samsung Galaxy S23 phone, working with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and Samsung. Continue Reading

Last year, T-Mobile aggregated three channels of mid-band 5G spectrum, reaching speeds over 3 Gbps on its standalone 5G network. The test used a commercial device (Samsung Galaxy S22 powered by Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform with Snapdragon X65 Modem-RF System) on a live production network.

Meanwhile, this week, United Arab Emirates wireless carrier Etisalat by e& announced it has demonstrated a proof of concept with an uplink data peak rate of 2.1 Gbps on its commercial network in the UAE, using a combination of Ericsson’s New Radio Dual Connectivity (NR-DC) and four-carrier CA. The uplink data speed of the 5G network was boosted by aggregating 4×100 MHz high-band millimeter Wave carrier components with a 1×100 MHz mid-band carrier component.

Additionally Ericsson and stc, based in Saudi Arabia, have successfully completed a TDD-TDD (Time Division Duplex) 5G Carrier Aggregation proof of concept (PoC) to support the nationwide 5G rollout with extended coverage and increased capacity. This will provide stc’s subscribers with higher data speeds while enabling a host of new, low-latency applications.

The PoC combined the 2.3 GHz 5G band and 3.5 GHz. It corroborated the success of the Time Division Duplex+Frequency Division Duplex carrier aggregation test that took place in 2020, combining NR FDD 700MHz and NR TDD 3.6GHz

But, two years ago, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. achieved 5.23 Gbps in data speeds to a single device, using its E-UTRAN New Radio Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) technology in a lab in Korea to combine 40 MHz of 4G frequency and 800 MHz of 5G frequency in mmWave. The year before that, 5G peak speeds above 4 Gbps were demonstrated on a Verizon network, which combined eight separate channels of millimeter wave spectrum by Samsung Electronics Americas, Motorola Mobility and Qualcomm.

Last year saw a good deal of carrier aggregation activity. In May, a three-component CA call was completed by Nokia, Optus and Samsung Electronics Australia on a 5G SA network in Australia, reported. That trial combined the FDD 2100 MHz band with the TDD 2300 MHz + 3500 MHz band. Also in May, stc and Ericsson completed a two component TDD-TDD 5G CA proof of concept, which combined the 2.3 GHz with the 3.5 GHz bands. 

Last April, stc, Nokia and MediaTek verified a three-carrier CA call on a 5G SA network in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, combining one FDD carrier, 20 MHz wide, and two TDD 80 MHz-wide carriers to create 180 MHz of spectrum. The speeds were not publicized.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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