T-Mobile US completed a 5G data transmission on low-band 600MHz in partnership with Nokia, a step the operator believes moves it closer to a nationwide rollout of the technology.
In a statement, the company said the move was particularly significant because it used its low-band spectrum to achieve the 5G connection, which could eventually be key to providing a broader rollout across the entire country rather than “small clusters in parts of select cities”.
Low-band 600MHz spectrum “reaches much further than other frequencies”, added the company.
T-Mobile splashed $8 billion on 600MHz spectrum in May 2017, when it first detailed its ambitions to launch a nationwide 5G network by combining multiple spectrum bands.
Most operators, vendors and chipmakers have been developing 5G based on high-band spectrum including 28GHz mmWave, or mid-band 3.5GHz frequencies.
The transmission, conducted by T-Mobile and Nokia engineers, was completed using 5G global standards in Washington and proved low-band airwaves “will provide 5G coverage across hundreds of square miles from a single tower”, said the operator.
In comparison, T-Mobile added that mmWave sites can only cover less than a square mile.
The company continued to explain that low-band spectrum is essential for wide-area reach and reliable coverage which travels over distance, into buildings and isn’t limited to line-of-sight.
It could also be key to bringing 5G to rural areas and powering applications including IoT.
“The Un-carrier is focused on delivering 5G for everyone everywhere, while the other guys focus on 5G for the few, reaching just a few people in small areas of a handful of cities,” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile (pictured).
T-Mobile also used the announcement to again tout its proposed merger with Sprint, pushing the combined entity’s access to multiple spectrum bands to provide “broad and deep nationwide coverage”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back