Understanding the end user quality of experience created by gigabit LTE

Built on technologies 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM and multi-channel carrier aggregation including of unlicensed spectrum bands, 41 operators in 24 countries are in varying phases of testing and deploying gigabit LTE networks. In a new report, Qualcomm Technologies and Signals Research Group are highlighting the benefits passed on to end users of this new breed of networks.

For the purposes of understanding consumer benefit, SRG focused primarily on download speeds and video streaming. The comparison is based on a Cat 12 smartphone and the Cat 16 Samsung Galaxy S8, which uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 process and X16 modem.

The below table details how the gigabit LTE device provides a 15% faster download from the Google Play store compared to the Cat 12 device in excellent network conditions and a 23% faster download time in poor network conditions. For downloading files from Google Drive, the Cat 16 device performs 20% faster in excellent network conditions and 27% faster in poor network conditions. Another key piece of the gigabit LTE puzzle is the impact of network resource usage.

gigabit lte

Image courtesy of Qualcomm Technologies.

In the Google Play store download scenario, the Cat 16 device uses 34% fewer network resources in excellent network conditions; in the Google Drive download scenario, the Samsung Galaxy S8 uses 30% fewer network resources. Herein lies a major driver of operator adoption of gigabit LTE–more Cat 16 devices means more network efficiencies, which equates to an improved user experience for subscribers not using a Cat 16 devices.

In a blog post, Qualcomm Senior Manager of Product Marketing Mohammed Al Khairy bullets out of the key takeaways of the analysis quoted here:

  • Gigabit LTE smartphones provide better user experiences than Cat 12 smartphones:
    • Faster download times
    • Fewer network resources utilized
  • Gigabit LTE smartphones mean virtually everyone in the network benefits
    • Spectral efficiency increased by 30-40 percent
    • Improved network capacity and ability to serve other users faster.
  • Gigabit LTE with LAA technology provides better user experiences vs. devices that do not support LAA:
    • 2x faster download speeds
    • Offloads networks and increases capacity

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