NTT DoCoMo and Huawei on Wednesday announced they have successfully tested LTE in the 5-GHz band, an unlicensed frequency typically used for wireless local area networking.

The companies have been testing Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA) technology, which extends LTE compatibility to unlicensed spectrum, thereby giving operators an opportunity to potentially increase the capacity in their LTE and LTE-Advanced networks.

In research carried out at a Huawei facility in Beijing, the companies found that deploying LTE in 5-GHz spectrum delivered approximately 1.6 times the capacity of the IEEE's 802.11n WLAN standard.

"We are very pleased to have confirmed that LAA is a viable technology for LTE and future LTE-Advanced," said Seizo Onoe, CTO of DoCoMo, in a statement. "We aim to contribute to the standardisation of this technology, which inherits the highly advanced features of LTE, to further enhance the global user experience with wireless broadband."

DoCoMo and Huawei expect LAA to be discussed by the 3GPP later this year. DoCoMo said it aims to deploy the technology in March 2015.