T-MobileT-Mobile, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies have broken the 1 Gbps barrier with commercially available LTE equipment. The gigabit LTE tests were conducted at T-Mobile’s labs, achieving download speeds of 1.175 Gbps, the companies said.

“We are helping customers maximize the value of their existing networks by bringing performance closer to that expected from 5G in the future,” said Marc Rouanne, the President of Mobile Networks for Nokia in a press release. “With this key test, using T-Mobile’s network and Qualcomm Technologies’ modem, we have not only broken the gigabit speed barrier but have exceeded existing performance using Nokia 4.9G technology, showing the way forward for higher-quality user experiences and services with fiber-like speeds over mobile connections.”

Gigabit LTE
The T-Mobile gigabit LTE test featured Nokia’s 4.9G network, which is powered by its AirScale Base Station, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X20 LTE modem supporting Downlink Category 18 and outfitted to provide 1.2 Gbps download speeds. The test setup included 4×4 Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) antennas using 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) and 12 streams of LTE data aggregated on three carriers using 60 MHz of downlink spectrum.

Earlier this month, Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm said that they had reached an LTE download speed of 1.07 Gbps. Aspects of that test – Qualcomm’s X20 LTE modem, 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM on 12 simultaneous LTE streams – match those of the T-Mobile test.

In a previous test, using License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, the same partners achieved speeds of 953 Mbps. The test used an Ericsson Micro Radio 2205 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem on the Verizon network.

The claims are important beyond bragging rights. The testing and research illustrate that the transition between LTE and 5G will be gradual, just like it was between 3G and LTE. This will give carriers, their ecosystems and end users more choice going forward.