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Telefonica small-cell 4G could provide 100Mbps LTE

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At MWC, Spanish company Telefonica will be testing a new small-cell LTE network that it says can provide download speeds of 100Mbps with increased capacity and lower installation and energy costs than traditional networks.

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At MWC, Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica will be deploying its first public test of an LTE network that it says can provide download speeds of 100Mbps and upload speeds of 40 to 60Mbps. Based on Alcatel-Lucent's LightRadio cells — one version of which is pictured above — the network is supposed to not only improve speed and capacity, but also be cheaper to deploy than ordinary LTE.

The network relies on small 4G base stations that can be installed in crowded or low-signal areas. According to Telefonica, each cell can support 30 people with an average browsing speed of 30Mbps. The cells operate on the same 2.6GHz frequency as traditional, larger base stations with no interference, boosting the signal for users. It's similar to the small-cell LTE currently being tested by Virgin Media, but is the first network of its kind on the 2.6GHz spectrum. We'd love to put these speed claims to the test at MWC — if the network is as fast as Telefonica says, we'll be sure to let you know.