LTE and GSM are getting hitched thanks to new technology

Using advanced spectrum sharing, basic voice services can live on while broadband speeds increase

In the hunt for more spectrum to speed up mobile networks, Vodafone and Huawei Technologies have successfully tested a technology that lets LTE and GSM share the same frequencies.

The speed of future mobile networks will depend on the amount of spectrum mobile operators can get their hands on. The more they get, the wider the roads they can build.

One thing they can do to get more space is to reuse frequencies that are currently used for older technologies such as GSM and 3G. But that isn't as easy as sounds, as operators still have a lot of voice and messaging traffic in those older networks. That traffic isn't going away for a long time, irrespective of the level of competition from Internet-based services.

However, using a technology called GL DSS (GSM-LTE Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) Vodafone and Huawei have shown a way to allow GSM and LTE to coexist.

In a traditional mobile network, operators allocate each technology an exclusive set of frequencies. For example, many operators, including Vodafone, currently hold 20MHz of spectrum at 1.8GHz, of which 10MHz is used for LTE and the rest for GSM traffic.

GL DSS lets Huawei's SRC (Single Radio Controller) give GSM a higher priority during periods of heavy traffic, ensuring that voice calls get though unharmed. But the SRC can also provide more room for LTE when users aren't making calls, allowing for better throughput, the vendor said on Tuesday.

This trial verified the technology's performance in Vodafone Spain's commercial network, with LTE capacity gains of up to 50 percent, according to Huawei. That equals another 32.5Mbps of bandwidth, on paper. Smartphones and other devices with a cellular connection don't have to be upgraded for the technology to work.

"What we see now is that GSM and 3G will live much longer than anyone expected. This could be one of the things you as a carrier do to increase sustainability and scalability," said Sylvain Fabre, research director at Gartner.

Huawei and Vodafone didn't say when they expect GL DSS will become available to users.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunication3g4gCarriersVodafone GroupHuawei Technologies

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?