As mobile operators have deployed more LTE over the past few years, the demand for high speed mobile data has also increased. One way to supply that demand is for mobile operators to acquire more spectrum, but licensed spectrum is expensive and rare. The other option for mobile operators is to use unlicensed spectrum in one of two ways: offload traffic to a Wi-Fi network or use unlicensed spectrum (specifically, 5 GHz) for LTE.
Although a few years ago Wi-Fi Offload was seen as the primary method for mobile operators to take advantage of unlicensed spectrum, in the last two years, there has been significant interest in (and controversy surrounding) the use of LTE on unlicensed spectrum, specifically 5 GHz.
iGR has released a new market study that analyzes the unlicensed options available for mobile operators. First, it discusses both user-driven and carrier-driven Wi-Fi Offload and provides updates on the deployment of the related technologies. Next, it discusses several types of Unlicensed LTE technologies, including LTE-U, LAA, LWA and MulteFire, and gives updates regarding their deployment in the U.S.
For many years Wi-Fi Offload has been one option for mobile operators seeking to ease the load on the mobile data network, and now a second option, Unlicensed LTE (specifically LTE-U), is finally off the ground. In this study, we have quantified the impact of these technologies by forecasting how much data traffic will be put on each of these unlicensed spectrum technologies in the next five years.
iGR’s new market study, U.S. Mobile Data on Unlicensed Spectrum Forecast, 2016-2021: How will Wi-Fi Offload and Unlicensed LTE help meet demand? discusses user-driven and carrier-driven Wi-Fi Offload and Unlicensed LTE. The study provides a five-year forecast, which shows the amount of U.S. Wi-Fi Offload and Unlicensed LTE traffic and how these numbers compare to the total amount of U.S. mobile data traffic.