Long Live Small Cells and LTE…LTE-U is a Terrible Idea at Best

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Quick refresher: LTE-U (LTE Unlicensed) is a scheme to aggregate the “free” 5GHz spectrum typically used in WiFi with LTE at lower “Wide Area Network” (WAN) governmentally auctioned frequencies such as 600-700MHz, 1.8-1.9GHz, 2.3GHz etc etc…

lte-u-img-Image from Qualcomm

Image from Qualcomm

The business drivers are Qualcomm (more chip$) and the network carriers which are looking for relief from network congestion and ability to sell more throughput to the end users. To increase profitability, they are using ‘free’ spectrum and selling it back to LTE end users.

I have always thought this to be a dumb idea and expected it to die many times, but $ can move mountains. Top of head, here are some reasons why it’s not a good idea…

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