Optus and Huawei have reached mobile speeds of 160 Mbps in a test of TD-LTE Advanced carrier aggregation technology on the Optus network, the telco revealed today.

Carrier aggregation allows greater data download speeds by combining spectrum across two separate spectrum bands. Optus used the technique to join two 20MHz channels together in its 2.3GHz spectrum. The test took place in Melbourne in early December.

Optus said it was the first time in the world that 4G carrier aggregation has been introduced into a live TD-LTE network; previous tests have only occurred in labs.

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In theory, carrier aggregation can deliver a maximum speed of 220 Mbps to a single user on compatible mobile devices, said Optus. However, the Melbourne test peaked at 160 Mbps, it said.

Additional carrier aggregation tests have been conducted by Huawei and Optus in St Marys, west of Sydney, combining four 20MHz carriers for a total of 80MHz on the 2.3GHz band to deliver mobile broadband speeds of 520Mbps, the companies said.

In real-life conditions, when many more people are using the network at the same time, the actual speed is likely to be slower than in any of the Optus tests.

Huawei said it plans to launch Category 6 mobile broadband devices compatible that will be TD-LTE carrier aggregation in 2014.

Earlier this month, Telstra reported that it had achieved 300 Mbps speeds using carrier aggregation in a trial environment.

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