The Federal Communications Commission today approved two cellular base stations—one each from Ericsson and Nokia—to use , marking the first official government thumbs-up for the controversial technology.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that the unlicensed spectrum—historically, the territory of Wi-Fi—can now be used to help ease the load on carrier mobile networks. “It means they get to enjoy the best of both worlds: a more robust, seamless experience when their devices are using cellular networks and the continued enjoyment of Wi-Fi, one of the most creative uses of spectrum in history.”
T-Mobile has already announced that it will be deploying LTE-U technology, , and other networks are likely to follow suit.
Aside from equipment vendors like Ericsson and Nokia, the only companies likely to greet the news of LTE-U’s approval with enthusiasm are the carriers themselves and Qualcomm, which essentially invented the technology. Other major tech sector players, including Google, Comcast, and Microsoft, have expressed serious concerns that LTE-U doesn’t play as nicely with Wi-Fi as advertised, .