LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation is coming to Uganda, but what does it mean anyway?

LTE A in Uganda CA

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Mobile devices are becomes progressively smarter, connecting us, entertaining us and enabling us to do more. As these devices become sophisticated, there is a growing need for faster data cellular speeds. Most LTE carriers in Uganda have licensed spectrum from UCC on one channel (bandwidth) to broadcast their LTE service. For those who remember the days when operators rolled out Dual Band in 2G GSM back then, it provided away for mobile networks to handle more voice capacity by utilizing two frequency spectrum bands on one cell tower. Now in LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), as networks get more congested operators have to keep up with the data traffic and that’s where carrier aggregation comes into play. But what does this mean anyway? No worries I gat you.

LTE A in Uganda CA3
One radio channel to transmit

Most smartphones rely only on one radio channel for downloading and uploading data as seen above, this puts limitations in speed, network traffic and cellular coverage. But when Operators adopt carrier aggregation in the future, devices featuring carrier aggregation will be able to access a broader range of cellular radio spectrum and combine the channels to optimize cellular performance. So, What does this mean? For example MTN currently broadcasts LTE at 2,600 MHz spectrum with 10 MHz bandwidth channel. With carrier aggregation, this means MTN will have to apply for another LTE Spectrum in the lower band (790 MHz digital divided that was freed after digital migration) say 20 MHz. Now in total, MTN would have 30 MHz and they could combine those two channels such that a mobile device is able to make use of more cellular radio channels that theoretically results in up to tripple download speeds and up to double upload speeds.

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With carrier aggregation speeds will increase

If MTN is currently able to hit 100 Mbps with their current LTE speeds imagine what LTE -Advanced with carrier aggregation would do for their speeds. Plus, access to more channels can reduce network congestion, and improve cellular reception even in our deep remote ares.


Just to be clear MTN is just an example in this case.