T-Mobile wants your WiFi spectrum to boost its coverage

Updated ·1 min read

Wireless spectrum is expensive, which is why carriers are eyeing up at the portions of our airwaves that are currently reserved for WiFi. According to GigaOm, T-Mobile is planning to stick its tanks on the WiFi industry's lawn by launching a form of 4G that operates on the 5GHz band, promising better speed for uploads and downloads. Surely, that's good news if you're a current T-Mo customer, but may have the unintended consequence of ruining everyone else's WiFi access.

T-Mobile is reportedly planning on harnessing a pair of technologies created by Alcatel-Lucent to improve performance without spending big in wireless auctions. The first is WiFi Boost, which pushes all "upload" traffic onto cellular data and all "downloads" to WiFi. With this Speedify-style know-how, Alcatel believes that it can improve download speeds by up to 70 percent.

The second, and more controversial, is Cellular Boost, which bounces 4G signals across the WiFi spectrum looking for the clearest spot. It's this that, some believe, could pose a threat to ordinary data connections by crowding your regular WiFi signals out. There's still a long way to go before this become an issue, but it looks as if telecoms providers and the WiFi industry is about to start squaring off for a fight.