Earlier than expected and without the fanfare, the first AWS-3 capable smartphone has finally arrived. During the obligatory visit to the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, the filing reveals that the LG V20, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 supports Band 66.
In addition, the FCC application confirms the Three-Way Downlink Carrier Aggregation support, and we are hoping to see Over-the-Air update enabling Higher Order Modulation at least on the T-Mobile variant. T-Mobile is the only U.S. mobile operator with DL 256 QAM and UL 64 QAM commercially deployed across the macro layer, and our early tests using pre commercial equipment show a respectable 15-20% increase in spectral efficiency at the cell center, with download speeds peaking at just under 180Mbps on a single 20MHz wide FDD channel (Band 4). We’re also seeing much newer Ericsson RRUS32 B66 4×4 MIMO capable radios in the field, operating in AWS-1 compatibility mode.
The LG V20 announcement marks another important milestone. It perfectly aligns with T-Mobile’s 4Q2016 AWS-3 rollout plans, as they continue to spearhead the effort in launching the latest advanced LTE technologies with the shortest time-to-market. Verizon and AT&T are expected to follow with the initial markets launching sometime in the 2017-’18 timeframe.
For more info on AWS-3 spectrum holdings, check out SpectrumGateway’s map!