Now that the FCC has finally signed off on the notion, T-Mobile plans to soon offer devices that support a controversial technology, known as LTE-U, that taps unlicensed spectrum to boost cell phone performance.

Decoded: LTE-U technology puts cellular devices in the frequencies usually reserved for use by technologies like WiFi, which don't require a license to occupy the airwaves. Backers of the tech claim that it doesn't cause interference — but have met resistance from some in industry who want to protect Wi-Fi.

The gritty details: The FCC on Wednesday approved the first LTE-U devices. "This is a great deal for wireless consumers, too," said Chairman Ajit Pai. "It means they get to enjoy the best of both worlds: a more robust, seamless experience when their devices are using cellular networks and the continued enjoyment of Wi-Fi, one of the most creative uses of spectrum in history." T-Mobile said that its customers "will be able to tap into the first 20 MHz of underutilized unlicensed spectrum on the 5GHz band and use it for additional LTE capacity" starting in the Spring.

What's next: Other carriers, including Verizon, are likely to follow in T-Mobile's footsteps, seizing on a way to boost their networks without having to pay for the additional spectrum. And, after years of squabbling, it will soon become clear whether LTE-U does or doesn't interfere with Wi-Fi.

Go deeper

Former Afghanistan commander Stanley McChrystal endorses Joe Biden

Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president on MSNBC Thursday.

Why it matters: McChrystal came under fire in 2010 during the Obama administration after a Rolling Stone article quoted him as mocking some top civilian officials — including Biden. The general apologized to Biden but was ultimately pushed to resign.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

The holiday shopping season will now begin in October

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Amazon's decision to move its Prime Day to Oct. 13–14 this year will pull the whole holiday shopping season forward by more than a month and help make online retail bigger than ever, as more families shop electronically and jostle to get presents purchased ahead of December holidays.

Why it matters: The reality of the coronavirus pandemic pushing people toward e-commerce combined with the pull of Amazon Prime Day and the Christmas shopping season this year are setting up a bonanza for retailers — but only those with the ability to offer steep discounts, delivery and an attractive online platform.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:45 a.m. ET: 34,010,539 — Total deaths: 1,014,958 — Total recoveries: 23,662,200Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:45 a.m. ET: 7,234,257 — Total deaths: 206,963 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Alarming vaccine skepticism. Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.