U.S. telco deploying tech in select parts of Indianapolis in bid to offer 1-Gbps mobile services

AT&T has begun the commercial deployment of Licence Assisted Access (LAA) on its LTE network in Indianapolis.

The technology, which enables operators to augment the capacity of their mobile access networks by combining both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, is being rolled out in select locations of the city centre at first. More locations will be added by the end of the year.

"Demand continues to grow at a rapid pace on our network. That’s why offering customers the latest technologies and increased wireless capacity by combining licensed and unlicensed spectrum is an important milestone," said Bill Soards, president of AT&T Indiana, in a statement last week.

Customers will need a compatible handset, in this case the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, in order to benefit from AT&T’s LAA deployment.

Advances like LAA are part of AT&T’s broader plan to offer 1-Gbps mobile services, and Indianapolis is one of the U.S. telco’s testbeds when it comes to trying out new technological breakthroughs.

AT&T spent more than $350 million on its Indianapolis networks in 2014-2016. As well as deploying LAA, AT&T is also upgrading its network with 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), 4×4 multiple input, multiple output (MIMO), and three-way carrier aggregation (CA).

"Indianapolis is yet again setting the pace when it comes to next-generation technologies," said Michael Huber, CEO of the Indy Chamber, which represents more than 2,500 businesses in Indianapolis.

"Indy will be the very first in the country to reap the benefits of LTE-LAA, bringing us that much closer to 5G," he said.