LTE Advanced

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LTE Advanced logo LTE Advanced logo.jpg
LTE Advanced logo
LTE Advanced (with carrier aggregation) signal indicator in Android Android LTE Advanced signal indicator.png
LTE Advanced (with carrier aggregation) signal indicator in Android

LTE Advanced is a mobile communication standard and a major enhancement of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. It was formally submitted as a candidate 4G to ITU-T in late 2009 as meeting the requirements of the IMT-Advanced standard, and was standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in March 2011 as 3GPP Release 10. [1]

LTE Advanced Pro

LTE Advanced Pro is a name for 3GPP release 13 and 14. It is the next-generation cellular standard following LTE Advanced (LTE-A) and supports data rates in excess of 3 Gbit/s using 32-carrier aggregation. It also introduces the concept of License Assisted Access, which allows sharing of licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

In telecommunication, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. The standard is developed by the 3GPP and is specified in its Release 8 document series, with minor enhancements described in Release 9. LTE is the upgrade path for carriers with both GSM/UMTS networks and CDMA2000 networks. The different LTE frequencies and bands used in different countries mean that only multi-band phones are able to use LTE in all countries where it is supported.

4G is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.


The LTE format was first proposed by NTT DoCoMo of Japan and has been adopted as the international standard. [2] LTE standardization has matured to a state where changes in the specification are limited to corrections and bug fixes. The first commercial services were launched in Sweden and Norway in December 2009 [3] followed by the United States and Japan in 2010. More LTE networks were deployed globally during 2010 as a natural evolution of several 2G and 3G systems, including Global system for mobile communications (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) in the 3GPP family as well as CDMA2000 in the 3GPP2 family.

Japan Island country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund Strait. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. The capital city is Stockholm. Sweden has a total population of 10.3 million of which 2.5 million have a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi) and the highest urban concentration is in the central and southern half of the country.

Norway Country in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises of the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

The work by 3GPP to define a 4G candidate radio interface technology started in Release 9 with the study phase for LTE-Advanced. Being described as a 3.9G (beyond 3G but pre-4G), the first release of LTE did not meet the requirements for 4G (also called IMT Advanced as defined by the International Telecommunication Union) such as peak data rates up to 1  Gb/s. The ITU has invited the submission of candidate Radio Interface Technologies (RITs) following their requirements in a circular letter, 3GPP Technical Report (TR) 36.913, "Requirements for Further Advancements for E-UTRA (LTE-Advanced)." [4] These are based on ITU's requirements for 4G and on operators’ own requirements for advanced LTE. Major technical considerations include the following:

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a standards organization which develops protocols for mobile telephony. Its best known work is the development and maintenance of:

International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced are the requirements issued by the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2008 for what is marketed as 4G mobile phone and Internet access service.

International Telecommunication Union Specialized agency of the United Nations

The International Telecommunication Union, originally the International Telegraph Union, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. It is the second oldest international organization after the Rhine Navigation Commission (1815).

World Radiocommunication Conference convention

World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) is organized by ITU to review and as necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits. It is held every three to four years. Prior to 1993, it was called the World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC); in 1992, at an Additional Plenipotentiary Conference in Geneva, the ITU was restructured, and later conferences became the WRC.

Likewise, 'WiMAX 2', 802.16m, has been approved by ITU as the IMT Advanced family. WiMAX 2 is designed to be backward compatible with WiMAX 1 devices. Most vendors now support conversion of 'pre-4G', pre-advanced versions and some support software upgrades of base station equipment from 3G.

The mobile communication industry and standards organizations have therefore started work on 4G access technologies, such as LTE Advanced.[ when? ] At a workshop in April 2008 in China, 3GPP agreed the plans for work on Long Term Evolution (LTE). [5] A first set of specifications were approved in June 2008. [6] Besides the peak data rate 1  Gb/s as defined by the ITU-R, it also targets faster switching between power states and improved performance at the cell edge. Detailed proposals are being studied within the working groups.[ when? ]

Working group interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers

A working group or working party is a group of experts working together to achieve specified goals. The groups are domain-specific and focus on discussion or activity around a specific subject area. The term can sometimes refer to an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers working on new activities that would be difficult to sustain under traditional funding mechanisms.

Three technologies from the LTE-Advanced tool-kit – carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256QAM modulation in the downlink – if used together and with sufficient aggregated bandwidth, can deliver maximum peak downlink speeds approaching, or even exceeding, 1 Gbit/s. Such networks are often described as ‘Gigabit LTE networks’ mirroring a term that is also used in the fixed broadband industry. [7]


The target of 3GPP LTE Advanced is to reach and surpass the ITU requirements. LTE Advanced should be compatible with first release LTE equipment, and should share frequency bands with first release LTE. In the feasibility study for LTE Advanced, 3GPP determined that LTE Advanced would meet the ITU-R requirements for 4G. The results of the study are published in 3GPP Technical Report (TR) 36.912. [8]

One of the important LTE Advanced benefits is the ability to take advantage of advanced topology networks; optimized heterogeneous networks with a mix of macrocells with low power nodes such as picocells, femtocells and new relay nodes. The next significant performance leap in wireless networks will come from making the most of topology, and brings the network closer to the user by adding many of these low power nodes — LTE Advanced further improves the capacity and coverage, and ensures user fairness. LTE Advanced also introduces multicarrier to be able to use ultra wide bandwidth, up to 100 MHz of spectrum supporting very high data rates.

In the research phase many proposals have been studied as candidates for LTE Advanced (LTE-A) technologies. The proposals could roughly be categorized into: [9]

Within the range of system development, LTE-Advanced and WiMAX 2 can use up to 8x8 MIMO and 128-QAM in downlink direction. Example performance: 100 MHz aggregated bandwidth, LTE-Advanced provides almost 3.3 Gbit peak download rates per sector of the base station under ideal conditions. Advanced network architectures combined with distributed and collaborative smart antenna technologies provide several years road map of commercial enhancements.

The 3GPP standards Release 12 added support for 256-QAM.

A summary of a study carried out in 3GPP can be found in TR36.912. [10]

Timeframe and introduction of additional features

Original standardization work for LTE-Advanced was done as part of 3GPP Release 10, which was frozen in April 2011. Trials were based on pre-release equipment. Major vendors support software upgrades to later versions and ongoing improvements.

In order to improve the quality of service for users in hotspots and on cell edges, heterogenous networks (HetNet) are formed of a mixture of macro-, pico- and femto base stations serving corresponding-size areas. Frozen in December 2012, 3GPP Release 11 [11] concentrates on better support of HetNet. Coordinated Multi-Point operation (CoMP) is a key feature of Release 11 in order to support such network structures. Whereas users located at a cell edge in homogenous networks suffer from decreasing signal strength compounded by neighbor cell interference, CoMP is designed to enable use of a neighboring cell to also transmit the same signal as the serving cell, enhancing quality of service on the perimeter of a serving cell. In-device Co-existence (IDC) is another topic addressed in Release 11. IDC features are designed to ameliorate disturbances within the user equipment caused between LTE/LTE-A and the various other radio subsystems such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and the GPS receiver. Further enhancements for MIMO such as 4x4 configuration for the uplink were standardized.

The higher number of cells in HetNet results in user equipment changing the serving cell more frequently when in motion. The ongoing work on LTE-Advanced [12] in Release 12, amongst other areas, concentrates on addressing issues that come about when users move through HetNet, such as frequent hand-overs between cells. It also included use of 256-QAM.

First technology demonstrations and field trials

This list covers technology demonstrations and field trials up to the year 2014, paving the way for a wider commercial deployment of the VoLTE technology worldwide. From 2014 onwards various further operators trialled and demonstrated the technology for future deployment on their respective networks. These are not covered here. Instead a coverage of commercial deployments can be found in the section below.

NTT DoCoMo Flag of Japan.svg  Japan February 2007 [13] The operator announced the completion of a 4G trial where it achieved a maximum packet transmission rate of approximately 5 Gbit/s in the downlink using 12 transmit and 12 receive antennas and 100 MHz frequency bandwidth to a mobile station moving at 10 km/h.
Agilent Technologies Flag of Spain.svg  Spain February 2011 [14] The vendor demonstrated at Mobile World Congress the industry's first test solutions for LTE-Advanced with both signal generation and signal analysis solutions.
Ericsson Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden June 2011 [15] The vendor demonstrated LTE-Advanced in Kista.
touch Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon April 2013 [16] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Chinese vendor Huawei and combined 800 MHz spectrum and 1.8 GHz spectrum. touch achieved 250 Mbit/s.
Vodafone Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand May 2013 [17] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Nokia Networks and combined 1.8 GHz spectrum and 700 MHz spectrum. Vodafone achieved just below 300 Mbit/s.
A1 Flag of Austria.svg  Austria June 2013 [18] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Ericsson and NSN using 4x4 MIMO. A1 achieved 580 Mbit/s.
Turkcell Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey August 2013 [19] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in Istanbul with Chinese vendor Huawei. Turkcell achieved 900 Mbit/s.
Telstra Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia August 2013 [20] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Swedish vendor Ericsson and combined 900 MHz spectrum and 1.8 GHz spectrum.
SMART Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines August 2013 [21] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Chinese vendor Huawei and combined 2.1 GHz spectrum and 1.80 GHz spectrum bands and achieved 200 Mbit/s.
SoftBank Flag of Japan.svg  Japan September 2013 [22] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in Tokyo with Chinese vendor Huawei. Softbank used the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and achieved 770 Mbit/s.
beCloud/ MTS Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus October 2013 [23] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Chinese vendor Huawei.
SFR Flag of France.svg  France October 2013 [24] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in Marseille and combined 800 MHz spectrum and 2.6 GHz spectrum. SFR achieved 174 Mbit/s.
EE Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom November 2013 [25] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in London with Chinese vendor Huawei and combined 20 MHz of 1.8 GHz spectrum and 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum. EE achieved 300 Mbit/s which is equal to category 6 LTE.
O2 Flag of Germany.svg  Germany November 2013 [26] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in Munich with Chinese vendor Huawei and combined 10 MHz of 800 MHz spectrum and 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum. O2 achieved 225 Mbit/s.
SK Telecom Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea November 2013 [27] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced and combined 10 MHz of 850 MHz spectrum and 20 MHz of 1.8 GHz spectrum. SK Telecom achieved 225 Mbit/s.
Vodafone Flag of Germany.svg  Germany November 2013 [28] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in Dresden with Swedish vendor Ericsson and combined 10 MHz of 800 MHz spectrum and 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum. Vodafone achieved 225 Mbit/s.
Telstra Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia December 2013 [29] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Swedish vendor Ericsson and combined 20 MHz of 1.8 GHz spectrum and 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum. Telstra achieved 300 Mbit/s which is equal to category 6 LTE.
Optus Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia December 2013 [30] The operator trialed TD-LTE-Advanced with Chinese vendor Huawei and combined two 20 MHz channels of 2.3 GHz spectrum. Optus achieved over 160 Mbit/s.
Entel Chile Flag of Chile.svg  Chile September 2015 [31] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in Rancagua using 15 MHz of 700 MHz and 20 MHz of 2600 MHz spectrum, achieving over 200 Mbit/s.
Claro Brasil Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil December 2015 [32] The Claro Brasil presented in Rio Verde the first tests with 4.5G technology, LTE Advanced, which offers an internet speed of up to 300Mbit/s.
AIS Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand March 2016 [33] The operator launched the first 4.5G on LTE-U/LAA network in Bangkok with the combination of 1800 MHz spectrum and 2100 MHz spectrum using Carrier Aggregation (CA), 4x4 MIMO, DL256QAM/UL64QAM and the use of LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) to facilitate high-speed network. AIS achieved download speed up to 784.5 Mbit/s and upload speed 495 Mbit/s. [34] This was made possible by Joint Development Center (JIC) the special R&D program between AIS and Huawei.
MagtiCom Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia May 2016 [35] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced in Tbilisi and combined the 800 MHz with its existing 1800 MHz spectrum. MagtiCom achieved download speed 185 Mbit/s and upload speed 75 Mbit/s.
Ucom Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia September 2016 [36] The operator trialed LTE-Advanced with Swedish vendor Ericsson. Ucom achieved 250 Mbit/s download speed which is equal to category 6 LTE.
Altel Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan April 2017 [37] The operator launched LTE-Advanced in 12 cities across Kazakhstan. Altel achieved 225 Mbit/s download speed. LTE-Advanced (4G+) Technology is up to be launched in 5 more cities in Kazakhstan in May 2017.
Bite Latvija Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia September 2016 [38] The operator launched 8 4.5G cell stations in Riga after testing in partnership with Huawei and the Riga Technical University on June 15, 2017.
Wi-Tribe Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan May 2017 [39] The operator first tested their LTE-A network in May 2017 over the 3.5 GHz band, and it was then made officially available in Lahore, Pakistan, with more cities to follow. Wi-Tribe achieved speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s over their new LTE-A network. This was done using equipment from Huawei.
Telcel Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico March 2018 [40] The operator offered the service in Mexico City and other 10 cities nationwide on March 14, 2018.
AirtelIndiaApril 2012On 10 April 2012, Airtel launched 4G services through dongles and modems using TD-LTE technology in Kolkata, becoming the first company in India to offer 4G services. The Kolkata launch was followed by launches in Bangalore (7 May 2012), Pune (18 October 2012), and Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula (25 March 2013).


An LTE Advanced base station installed in Iraq for provisioning of broadband wireless Internet service. LTE Advanced Tower in Iraq.jpg
An LTE Advanced base station installed in Iraq for provisioning of broadband wireless Internet service.

The deployment of LTE-Advanced in progress in various LTE networks.

In August 2019, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) reported that there were 304 commercially launched LTE-Advanced networks in 134 countries. Overall, 335 operators are investing in LTE-Advanced (in the form of tests, trials, deployments or commercial service provision) in 141 countries. [41]

See also


Related Research Articles

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Resources (white papers, technical papers, application notes)