As FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai explained in a statement, "LTE-U allows wireless providers to deliver mobile data traffic using unlicensed spectrum while sharing the road, so to speak, with Wi-Fi".
Later in the year, other wireless carriers are also understood to be planning to install LTE-U as well as another technology that is closely related, LAA. Doubtlessly, once the switches are flipped on the base stations and LTE-U compatibility begins to spread, some users will at least consider unlawfully unlocking the capability by modifying their existing devices.
T-Mobile USA is ready to deploy a new LTE technology over the same 5GHz frequencies used by Wi-Fi following US government approval of the first "LTE-U" devices. It also promises to give way to Wi-Fi as the need arises.
The news came just minutes after the FCC announced certification for the first LTE-U devices from Nokia and Ericsson. T-Mobile has been working with the 5GHz spectrum for a while though, so we're confident that will go fine. The excellent staff of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology has certified that the LTE-U devices being approved today are in compliance with FCC rules. This heralds a technical breakthrough in the many shared uses of this spectrum.
There's no telling when iPhones will support the LTE-U band.
"Ericsson welcomes the FCC's approval of LTE-U", commented Glenn Laxdal, Head of Network Products, Ericsson North America. Ricky Corker, Nokia EVP and Head of North America, said that the company is committed to work alongside T-Mobile in order to bring new solutions to market. The WiFi Alliance, a trade group that certifies WiFi equipment, ultimately released a "Coexistence Test Plan" in September that sought to ensure LTE-U devices wouldn't interfere with WiFi out in the wild. Other major tech sector players, including Google, Comcast, Microsoft and many others, have expressed serious concerns that LTE-U doesn't play as nicely with Wi-Fi as advertised, though collaborative testing has ratcheted tensions down of late. "As demand on the Wi-Fi network increases, LTE-U backs off, and as Wi-Fi demand wanes, customers can tap into that unused capacity for LTE".
Bao Bao the Panda Swaps Washington for China
Bao Bao, a female panda bear cub, is seen in the panda exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, in August 2014. After an online vote, the cub was named "Bao Bao", (pronounced Bow-Bow) which translates as "precious" or "treasure".