I have heard, from the engineers that I work with, XLTE disparaged as a “marketing term.” However, for the record, I find it is aptly named–as it is, indeed, extra LTE spectrum that Verizon wireless is building out to enhance their current 4G network. In markets where standard LTE performance is hindered as the network hits “critical mass,” Verizon in adding AWS to its bag of tricks so that the overall user experience will be better across the board. Does XLTE matter to ever user, everywhere? No. Does XLTE add more bandwidth in markets that risk saturation? Yes. All, in all, good for VZW for rolling out XLTE. But now on to the practical nuts-and-bolts matters involved in wireless solution building. As more companies begin to evaluate whether to start testing modems, cellular gateways and cellular routers that incorporate the AWS XLTE spectrum it is good to know a source for antennas that cover the 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and XLTE (AWS) bands. XLTE rubber duck dipole antennas, mini rubber ducks dipole antennas, and two high-gain mast antennas that support XLTE can be procured here. At our test bench in a very small city, we were surprised to discover, when testing these AWS band antennas, that XLTE had already reached us.
As spectrum watchers, we are of course riveted by the take-no-prisoners approach that Verizon is employing in its pursuit of AWS spectrum. As Verizon makes the case for the FCC to approve its acquisition of AWS Spectrum from SpectrumCo, Verizon has dangled that it will be willing to sell the A & B blocks of the 700 band that it bought at auction in 2008 that it is currently using to roll out its LTE network. And like a game of Axis-And-Allies, Verizon has now developed an alliance with AT&T’s star-crossed object of acquisitional desire, T-Mobile. Today, Verizon and T-Mobile made the announcement that have reached an agreement whereby T-Mobile will both buy and swap AWS spectrum with Verizon in order to provide both companies with better continuity of spectrum.