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Strange Bedfellows?: AT&T Verizon T-Mobile Form Coalition to Promote Unlicensed Spectrum

Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are part of a new coalition that intends to promote new technologies for unlicensed spectrum that wireless carriers say will boost data speeds and improve coverage for millions of Americans.

The EVOLVE coalition plans to promote the consumer benefits of unlicensed spectrum and such new technologies as LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) through speaking engagements, talks with policymakers and consumer education. The economic value of unlicensed spectrum exceeds $228 billion annually in the United States, according to Telecom Advisory Services.

“Americans need better broadband, and they need it now,” said Dean Brenner, senior vice president of government affairs with Qualcomm, a founding member of EVOLVE. “That is because the Internet is entering a new phase of growth, in which so many more devices are connected and share rich data, making it necessary to increase mobile broadband capacity by 1,000 times.”

But the cable industry has reportedly raised concerns that the technologies for unlicensed spectrum could interfere with or degrade Wi-Fi. As reported in a June 12 article by Broadcasting & Cable, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association has asked the Federal Communications Commission to open a new docket on the ramifications of allowing mobile operators to use LTE-U technologies.

Other associations have lined up in favor of LTE-U. Founding members of EVOLVE include the Competitive Carriers Association and CTIA—The Wireless Association.

The mobile operators, technology companies and associations that formed the coalition support seven principles, including the idea that the federal government should continue to make more spectrum available for unlicensed use.

“New technologies and innovations, like LTE-U and LAA, can help all carriers – rural, regional, and nationwide – meet ever-increasing demands for mobile connectivity,” said Steven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association.

Originally Published on ChannelPartners.com By Josh Long
September 30, 2015 –

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