Earlier last month we reported that Ericsson was helping to expand T-Mobile's networks and expand the 4G LTE coverage out to more areas, and in part T-Mobile is also working with Nokia Networks to get the job done as well as Nokia Networks and Ericsson are T-Mobile's two main network services partners. Nokia's big part in all of this though is mainly handling the LTE carrier aggregation tasks, something that we briefly touched on in the Ericsson article. Nokia recently said in a statement that "As part of the agreement, Nokia Networks is providing LTE Advanced carrier aggregation for all T-Mobile spectrum bands." As we mentioned before, the technique of carrier aggregation is essentially taking multiple bands of spectrum and meshing them together to create a wider band for the data to travel through, almost like a data super highway.
The good news is that according to Nokia's head of technology for T-Mobile, Mika K¤hk¶l¤, their hardware is fully capable of handling this technology advancement process, and that it's "just a matter of software upgrades," that needs to be made to continue the process and see it through. With the hardware already fully equipped and capable of handling the carrier aggregation process, the whole thing should move a lot faster, although it will still probably take some time before we start to really see some of the major benefits. In the grand scheme of things, since the Nokia hardware is ready to rock, when this capability gets turned on is in large part up to T-Mobile and the mobile device hardware partners. T-Mobile will need to decide to roll out the tech, or rather turn on the capability, and the hardware partners will have to come to a decision with T-Mobile of when to launch handsets that are capable of taking advantage of the carrier aggregation.
T-Mobile's plans are to have over 280 million POPs covered with LTE by the middle of next year, so we might start seeing some of the devices capable of handling the results from T-Mobile, Nokia Networks, and Ericsson's efforts by sometime shortly thereafter. At least, hopefully. All of this is part of building out T-Mobile's LTE network, and the advancements should see increased network coverage outside the norm with T-Mobile which is usually the more major metropolitan areas, but also help to greatly increase the speeds in the more populated areas that are already seeing LTE.