Vodafone Netherlands, working with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, have conducted live testing of advanced LTE Carrier Aggregation (CA) of LTE in licensed and unlicensed bands on a commercial mobile network.  

The trial uses the Ericsson RBS 6402 indoor small cell, which supports LTE CA between licensed and unlicensed bands on Vodafone`s commercial network, connected to a LTE unlicensed band capable test device developed by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

The latest over the air tests aggregated 20 MHz of Vodafone spectrum in Band 3 (1800 MHz) with 20 MHz of the unlicensed 5 GHz band U-NII-1 band.  

Ericsson notes that he testing validated LTE performance in the unlicensed band and fair co-existence with other technologies like Wi-Fi within the unlicensed 5 GHz band, a matter of huge debate.

LTE carrier aggregtion with an unlicensed band enables operators to combine the reliability of LTE licensed spectrum with incremental downlink throughput improvements provided by the unlicensed band.  

LTE CA with the 5GHz unlicensed band is a feature of Ericsson Networks Software 16A, available in 2015.