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T-Mobile will be one of the first mobile service providers to deploy Licensed Assist Access (LTE-U) in 2016, using a platform supplied by Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent.

Alcatel-Lucent has been developing the platform as part of its Wireless Unified Networks strategy that blends Wi-Fi and mobile networks.

Up to now, operators would switch users between mobile and Wi-Fi to load balance the network or users would manually switch between networks to seek optimum performance.

Alcatel-Lucent’s solution unifies the user experience across Wi-Fi and cellular for the first time.

“As an industry we have historically treated cellular and Wi-Fi as unique technologies,” said Mike Schabel, Alcatel-Lucent VP. “From a consumer perspective, it should simply be just wireless.”

Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Unified Networks strategy encompasses two new capabilities that can be deployed separately or combined for even greater performance gains. Alcatel-Lucent’s Wi-Fi boost technology combines the downlink of Wi-Fi with the uplink of the mobile network.

In typical homes, the Wi-Fi boost can increase download speeds up to 70 percent and increase upload speeds by an order of magnitude or more, while also doubling the Wi-Fi range, Alcatel-Lucent says.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Cellular boost technology leverages the unlicensed spectrum bands to enhance the capacity and performance of a mobile network.

As standards are ratified Alcatel-Lucent’s plans include the introduction of new LTE-U and Licensed Assist Access (LAA) capable small cells.

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