Skip to main content

Verizon’s McAdam to FCC: LTE-U, Wi-Fi Can Coexist Now

Earlier this month, Verizon chairman Lowell McAdam met with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to assure him that the company is committed to peaceful coexistence with Wi-Fi.

The telco has been part of a group that includes T-Mobile and Qualcomm—pushing for deployment of LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U), which would be mobile broadband's answer to the Wi-Fi broadband hot spots that have become wired broadband's mobile play of choice.

In the meeting, according to an ex parte filing with the FCC, McAdam and other Verizon execs talked up their "strong commitment" to Wi-Fi and said that they continued to collaborate to ensure that LTE-U coexists successfully with Wi-Fi.

Verizon does not need the FCC's permission to deploy the technology, but will need the FCC to sign off on the new Smart Phones that will be needed to receive it.

Cable operators have told the FCC that, while they are not opposed to LTE-U, they are not convinced that it can be deployed without interfering with Wi-Fi.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the FCC last month Wi-Fi stakeholders are working hard to find technical solutions to the interference issue, but says its research shows LTE-U can cause consumer disruptions and that more testing is needed.

In fact, it said after joint work done by CableLabs and Qualcomm on the issue, "there is no basis for claims that LTE-U is proven to coexist well with Wi-Fi."

Cable operators have Google and Microsoft on their side, at least in arguing that a standards-setting body needs to weigh in.

Cable Labs and Google say they have done their own tests that show that LTE-U will "disrupt" consumer Wi-Fi and that specs for the devices—LTE-U will require new phones and tablets to access—are insufficient to protect consumers.

Back in October, cable chief technology officers, joined by execs from Google and Microsoft, met with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to argue that before LTE-U technologies are employed in unlicensed spectrum bands, also used by cable Wi-Fi hot spots, there must be rigorous standards to insure the technology does not impair Wi-Fi.

Wheeler has signaled he wants the parties involved to work out their technological coexistence issues on their own if possible.