While most of the industry focus is on deploying new 5G-NR based networks, the evolution of 4G LTE networks will continue to be a pillar of cellular networks for a long time to come. Due to investments required, cellular operators will be focused on deploying the new 5G-NR networks where they are needed most—urban and dense urban parts of the network where capacity needs are highest and
cell site concentration is densest. Hence, for the foreseeable future, underlying 4G LTE networks will provide the broad-based, ubiquitous, country-wide coverage for the 5G-NR devices. To accomplish that, 4G LTE networks must evolve to match the capabilities of 5G-NR in terms of speed and capacity to provide a seamless user experience. Realizing this, 3GPP has devised a set of advanced features to continue enhancing the capabilities of 4G LTE as part of Rel. 13 and onwards. This upgrade in
capabilities has been called “LTE Advanced Pro (LTE-A-Pro).”

The Role of LT Advanced Pro in the Evolution Toward 5G