LTE Carrier Aggregation

Carrier Aggregation (CA) is a technique used in LTE-Advanced to increase the peak data rate (i.e., maximum available speed) of a 4G LTE network. By aggregating multiple channels together a mobile network operator can increase the total available bandwidth of a single transmission, and thereby increase the bitrate and capacity of the network.

Before LTE-A, a mobile network operator could only use additional LTE bands to increase capacity (i.e., total number of users), by distributing traffic across multiple bands. While this is an effective way to provide more airtime to any one particular user and thereby improving available data rates during busy periods, it does not increase the peak data rate. Carrier Aggregation was introduced in 3GPP Rel. 10 (2011).

With radio spectrum a rare commodity, CA has also helped to utilise smaller spectrum allotments which only support smaller channel widths and where traditional LTE would lead to very low peak data rates.

Carrier aggregation is supported in both FDD and TDD duplex modes, with mixed duplex FDD+TDD aggregation possible. Special Supplemental Downlink (SDL) and Supplemental Uplink (SUL) bands have also been introduced to improve peak data rates in one direction only, often to utilise isolated pockets of radio spectrum unsuitable for duplex.

Top 10 Carrier Aggregation Band Combinations

The following chart depicts the popularity of CA Band Combinations amongst global LTE networks. Note: these are live data subject to change. We are continuously updating the network database as new information is made available.

LTE-A Carrier Aggregation Bands

The below table lists 630 recorded CA band combinations and has been compiled per 3GPP 36.101 Rel. 14 [September 2017].

To search multiple frequencies within FDD/TDD search boxes, please use a comma to delimit search terms.

Configuration Name CA Type Component Carriers 4G LTE Frequency Bands Maximum Aggregated Bandwidth
CA_1C (B1+B1) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B1 (2100 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_2C (B2+B2) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B2 (1900 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_3B (B3+B3) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B3 (1800 MHz) 10 MHz
CA_3C (B3+B3) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B3 (1800 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_5B (B5+B5) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B5 (850 MHz) 20 MHz
CA_7B (B7+B7) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B7 (2600 MHz) 20 MHz
CA_7C (B7+B7) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B7 (2600 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_8B (B8+B8) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B8 (900 MHz) 20 MHz
CA_12B (B12+B12) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B12 (700 MHz) 15 MHz
CA_23B (B23+B23) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B23 (2000 MHz) 20 MHz
CA_27B (B27+B27) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B27 (850 MHz) 13 MHz
CA_38C (B38+B38) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B38 (2600 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_39C (B39+B39) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B39 (1900 MHz) 35 MHz
CA_40C (B40+B40) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B40 (2300 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_40D (B40+B40+B40) Intra-band, contiguous 3 B40 (2300 MHz) 60 MHz
CA_40E (B40+B40+B40+B40) Intra-band, contiguous 4 B40 (2300 MHz) 80 MHz
CA_41C (B41+B41) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B41 (2500 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_41F (B41+B41+B41+B41+B41) Intra-band, contiguous 5 B41 (2500 MHz) 100 MHz
CA_41D (B41+B41+B41) Intra-band, contiguous 3 B41 (2500 MHz) 60 MHz
CA_41E (B41+B41+B41+B41) Intra-band, contiguous 4 B41 (2500 MHz) 80 MHz
CA_42C (B42+B42) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B42 (3500 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_42D (B42+B42+B42) Intra-band, contiguous 3 B42 (3500 MHz) 60 MHz
CA_42E (B42+B42+B42+B42) Intra-band, contiguous 4 B42 (3500 MHz) 80 MHz
CA_42F (B42+B42+B42+B42+B42) Intra-band, contiguous 5 B42 (3500 MHz) 100 MHz
CA_43C (B43+B43) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B43 (3700 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_46C (B46+B46) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B46 (5200 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_46D (B46+B46+B46) Intra-band, contiguous 3 B46 (5200 MHz) 60 MHz
CA_46E (B46+B46+B46+B46). Intra-band, contiguous 4 B46 (5200 MHz) 80 MHz
CA_48C (B48+B48) Intra-band, contiguous 2 B48 (3600 MHz) 40 MHz
CA_48D (B48+B48+B48) Intra-band, contiguous 3 B48 (3600 MHz) 60 MHz