Carrier Aggregation is an essential feature in 4G LTE Advanced that enables mobile operators and devices to combine multiple LTE carriers into a single data change.
What this means is, instead of only having one LTE connection binding your phone to the network, you can have multiple LTE band connections acting as one connection.
This technique offers more bandwidth and faster download speeds and is a handy feature to have especially in areas where network reception is not great.
Carrier Aggregation Support
Carrier aggregation support is dependent on your phone and your network operator. Locally, Safaricom has carrier aggregation enabled on both the 1800 and 800 frequency bands. This means Safaricom users with phones that support CA can enjoy faster speeds when compared to typical 4G connections.
Qualcomm powered smartphones that have an X7 modem and beyond support for Carrier Aggregation. Several phones with MediaTek, Kirin, and Exynos chipsets also support CA. However, it’s important to note that some phone manufacturers prefer not to enable the feature despite having supported SoC’s.
Advantages of having carrier aggregation on your phone
- You get a faster and more reliable network connection
- Minimal buffering during content playback
- Lower ping while gaming online
- Reduced battery drain
How To Check Whether Your Phone Supports It
Now that you know what Carrier Aggregation is, let’s have a look at a couple of ways of checking whether your phone supports it.
1 Check Your Status Bar
If your phone supports CA, you should see a + sign besides the network type icon. If, for instance you’re on 4G, the network type icon should be displayed as 4G+ or LTE+ instead of 4G. This feature has to be enabled in the settings though.
To enable this, head over to settings and search for Carrier Aggregation or LTE Carrier Aggregation.
2 Using NetMonster
This is an application that generates a detailed breakdown of your network connection. Follow the steps below to get your network information for your device.
- Install the application from Playstore.
- Accept all the permissions the app asks for.
- Once everything is set up, you should see all the bands on offer at the top of the application.
- If you see either a 4G+ or LTE-A symbol, your device supports Carrier Aggregation.
If you happen to only see one network band only, like in the case above, it could indicate three possible scenarios, namely, the lack of carrier aggregation, the lack of carrier aggregation supported networks or lack of support for the aggregated brand.
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