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Here’s Why Google and Microsoft Are Fighting Against Qualcomm and Verizon’s New LTE Technology

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Here’s Why Google and Microsoft Are Fighting Against Qualcomm and Verizon’s New LTE Technology


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A new LTE technology Qualcomm, Verizon, and wireless carriers, are pursuing a new LTE technology called LTE Unlicensed, or LTE-U. The new tech allows LTE signals to use unlicensed airwaves that are typically reserved for things like garage door openers, wireless baby monitors, and Wi-Fi signals. Image Source: Qualcomm.


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Better connections Verizon and Qualcomm want to tap into LTE-U because it will help offload some of the LTE signals from cellular networks, which should help improve data speeds.


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“Unlicensed spectrum is going to be an important part of providing a better mobile broadband experience for our customers.” — David Young,Verizon’s vice president of public policy Source: Bloomberg.


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The flip side Google, Microsoft, and other tech and cable companies aren’t exactly excited about LTE-U. They claim that the new technology can hijack the unlicensed airwaves for its own use, forcing Wi-Fi signals to sit and wait until the airwaves are free again. Image Source: Google.


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“We are concerned that any technology that makes use of a licensed control channel will use that channel to give it priority access to the medium, and in this case degrade the performance of services delivered over Wi-Fi and other technologies that rely exclusively on unlicensed spectrum.” — Michael Daum, Microsoft’s technology policy strategist Source: Microsoft.


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Conflicting data Qualcomm and Verizon say they have proof that LTE-U doesn’t interfere with Wi-Fi signals, while Microsoft and Google have data showing the exact opposite. Image Source: Qualcomm.


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More testing needed Microsoft and Google are calling for more testing of LTE-U before its allowed to be implemented, and have started lobbying the Federal Communications Commission for a temporary block on LTE-U. But so far, the FCC has said that LTE-U is something that the tech and wireless companies need to figure out on their own.


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“Folks, you’ve got to come together and resolve this in a broad-based standard.” — Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman


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LTE-U’s future is up in the air The same organization that sets Wi-Fi standards, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (or IEEE), may ask Qualcomm and carriers to submit their technology for testing. But if all of the company’s can’t come to a resolution, then the FCC may eventually get involved.


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