Road to 5G: Singtel, Ericsson demo LTE License Assisted Access on Singtel’s 4G network

Singtel and Ericsson successfully conducted a live trial of pre-standard License Assisted Access (LAA), on Singtel’s network earlier this month.

The trial was completed after a two-week period of extensive testing using multiple RBS 6402 indoor small cells, Wi-Fi access points, prototype LAA devices, and Wi-Fi devices. Singtel provided the licensed spectrum of 1800 MHz (20 MHz) for the LTE anchor carrier, augmented with 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum (20 MHz) in its live network deployed in an office building at Serangoon North.


LTE-U is a mobile technology innovation that unlocks unlicensed spectrum for LTE and enables data speed boosts by applying LTE efficiencies to boost licensed spectrum. License Assisted Access (LAA) in specific, comes with added functionality known as listen-before-talk (LBT) to ensure coexistence with other Wi-Fi devices on the same unlicensed spectrum.

Extensive tests cases were conducted to demonstrate extended coverage and increased network capacity as well as seamless mobility with opportunistic aggregation of unlicensed spectrum.

· This first example demonstrates the opportunistic carrier aggregation of unlicensed spectrum to deliver higher throughput and greater capacity. A stationary live test at the office building demonstrated LTE License Assisted Access (LAA) throughput of 275 Mbps measured, which is the highest throughput supported by prototype devices today.

· The second test case showcases LAA ability to co-exist with Wi-Fi signals without affecting user experience in Wi-Fi. The trial showed that Wi-Fi users are better off with LAA as a neighbour and maintained consistent downlink throughput with and without LAA introduction.

· Finally, coverage testing was performed to demonstrate LAA ability to have better link performance, medium access control, mobility management, and excellent coverage as compared to Wi-Fi Access point, and also to consistently provide higher user throughput speeds through seamless handover between multiple small cells and across various radio conditions.

Today, almost 85 percent of mobile traffic is generated indoors in urbanised Singapore, according to Ericsson ConsumerLab. With the growing demand for differentiated experiences from web browsing, video streaming to cloud applications, Singtel estimates that extensive LAA implementation will potentially provide additional network capacity boost for mobile customers.

With the successful trial of LAA, this service will be progressively deployed in Singapore over the next two years, beginning in the first half of 2017, enabling Singtel to extend its current in-building coverage capacity and provide a better 4G experience to its mobile customers.

New handset models supporting LAA are expected to be available by early 2017. In the future, customers with LAA-capable handsets will be able to enjoy peak download throughput up to 450 Mbps.

Tay Yeow Lian, Managing Director of Networks, Consumer Singapore, Singtel said, “To provide our customers with a superior mobile experience when they are indoors, we are continuing to invest in new technologies that will increase indoor 4G speeds. This means that customers will enjoy more consistent and faster speeds while watching their favorite videos and listening to music on their mobile phones. We are pleased to be the first in Singapore to showcase LAA technology live. This is an integral part of the LTE-Advanced evolution and will bring us one step closer to our 5G goals.”

Martin Wiktorin, Country Manager of Ericsson Singapore and Brunei said, “5G standards do not yet exist but 5G is expected to be an evolution of today’s LTE networks along with new radio technologies and use cases. Ericsson and Singtel are very focused on technologies like LAA which will be key to operators as they evolve their LTE networks to support increasing mobile broadband demand from consumers, businesses and the Internet of Things (IoT) towards 5G.”