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Your next device could run on a network called LTE-U, thanks to T-Mobile

Why it matters to you

LTE-U adds additional bandwidth to your network, which could mean faster, smoother connections.

T-Mobile is tapping into a new resource. On Wednesday, the Bellevue-based mobile service provider announced the deployment of a new technology called LTE-U, and it’s hoping that it’ll provide a greater edge over competitors like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint when it comes to network capabilities.

So what exactly is LTE-U? It’s a newly approved (the Federal Communications Commission gave it the green light on Wednesday) variant of the 4G LTE network that actually shares radio frequencies with radio routers and Bluetooth headphones. It basically adds additional bandwidth to your network, which could mean faster, smoother connections. And just yesterday, Nokia and Ericsson were given permission to start deploying LTE-U devices, something T-Mobile has been quick to take advantage of.

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T-Mobile says that its customers will be able to leverage “the first 20 MHz of underutilized unlicensed spectrum on the 5GHz band and use it for additional LTE capacity” with its new mobile data.

“T-Mobile’s network is second to none, with more capacity per customer than the Duopoly … and LTE-U will only accelerate our lead,” said Neville Ray, CTO at T-Mobile. “T-Mobile’s built a track record of introducing new innovations first, including deploying more LTE Advanced technologies than anyone in the U.S. All that innovation means one thing — a fantastic customer experience.”

The Un-carrier has actually been testing LTE-U equipment since late last year, but now that the FCC has agreed that LTE-U can work in tandem with Wi-Fi technologies, the floodgates have been opened.

“We continue to push the boundaries of bringing new technologies in the unlicensed arena. Nokia is committed to working alongside T-Mobile to bring new solutions to market,” Ricky Corker, Nokia EVP and Head of North America said. “We stand ready to enhance T-Mobile’s leadership proposition and show what the future of mobile communications can be for Un-carrier customers.”