AT&T has announced deploying commercial LTE Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) technology in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, with the 4G network there now pushing theoretical speeds of up to 1Gbps.
The carrier is working with the City of Indianapolis to roll out LTE-LAA to additional areas of the city by the end of 2017, although it is currently only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 handset, ahead of a 5G deployment.
"We're excited to be the first carrier to commercially deploy LTE-LAA technology for our customers in parts of Indianapolis," AT&T Indiana president Bill Soards said.
"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."
During field trials of LTE-LAA, AT&T said it hit speeds of 979Mbps.
AT&T is also upgrading its Indianapolis LTE network using 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO), 3x carrier aggregation, and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Moderation (256 QAM) technologies.
AT&T is aiming to deploy LTE-LAA and 4x carrier aggregation on its 4G network by the end of the year, while rival carrier Verizon is similarly rolling out Massive MIMO technology across its LTE network in Irvine, California.
AT&T had launched its 5G Evolution upgrade in Indianapolis in July, with trials seeing speeds of up to 1Gbps and latency of less than 10 milliseconds.
According to AT&T, it has invested over $350 million in its Indianapolis networks over the past three years, launching a new Distributed Antenna System (DAS), increasing network capacity, and installing small cells, which serve as miniature base stations to increase capacity.
"We're excited to launch these new, faster, wireless technologies in Indianapolis as we march towards standards-based mobile 5G," AT&T Wireless Network Architecture and Design senior vice president Marachel Knight said in July.
The 5G Evolution network will be rolled out to 20 metro areas by the end of 2017, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, South Bend, Waco, Kalamazoo, and Minneapolis.
It is using Ericsson's 28GHz radios, virtualised RAN (vRAN), and full 5G virtualised core; Intel's 5G mobile trial platform; Samsung's 5G router, 5G RFIC chipset, virtualised core, and vRAN; and Nokia's 5G equipment and solutions.
AT&T, which also rolled out an enterprise Internet of Things platform in September, has additionally installed small cells throughout Minneapolis, and is planning to add more over the next few months.
Also in Indianapolis, Verizon trialled 5G during the Indy 500 motor race in partnership with Intel and Ericsson in May, using technologies such as beam forming and beam tracking to attain speeds in excess of 6Gbps.
Huawei has showcased its ability to improve 5G coverage, capacity, and user experience by carrying uplink data via 4G LTE bands and downlink data on 5G bands.
Intel has announced its XMM 8000-series 5G NR modem suite, with the first modem to be available commercially in mid-2019, while also saying it has enabled 5G calls over its Gold Ridge 5G modem unveiled at CES 2017.
Minneapolis will be kitted out with AT&T's 5G Evolution network using LTE Advanced technologies by the end of the year, with its stadium to see distributed antenna system (DAS) upgrades by the time it hosts the Super Bowl.
Deutsche Telekom has said its 5G trial network in Berlin puts it ahead of Europe in implementing the new mobile networking standard, with the telco working with Intel, Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia on trials and use cases.