T-Mobile US is seeking permission to test new LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) mobile equipment on multiple spectrum bands in El Paso, Texas and Augusta, Georgia.
In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), T-Mobile said it wants to “evaluate the technical performance of pre-commercial LTE Advanced equipment” through a series of tests on its 700MHz, AWS and PCS spectrum. T-Mobile also wants permission to conduct tests in AWS-3 spectrum held by the Commission. Specifically, T-Mobile sought clearance to test at 1755MHz to 1760MHz and 2155MHz to 2160MHz in El Paso, and 2165MHz to 2170MHz and 1765MHz to 1770MHz in Augusta.
The operator indicated it plans to use as many as 36 experimental mobile units from unnamed vendors in its experiments. Those will be tested alongside certified phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Both Nokia and Ericsson network equipment will be used in the trials, including Nokia’s AirScale base station and several Ericsson radio units compatible with both GSM and CDMA technology.
T-Mobile filed the request on Tuesday (3 October): it is yet to be approved.
T-Mobile’s LTE-A tests come as the operator pushes toward its goal of deploying a nationwide mobile 5G network by 2020.
The operator said it plans to use all of its spectrum assets for the rollout, including its newly acquired 600MHz airwaves, and mid-band, 28GHz and 39GHz spectrum. But while T-Mobile won an average of 30MHz of 600MHz spectrum across the country and holds 200MHz of 28GHz and 39GHz spectrum covering 100 million people in the US, the operator is pushing the FCC for more.
T-Mobile was one of several operator interests pressing the commission to revisit its rules for the 3.5GHz spectrum band in the US. It appears the pressure worked, as the FCC will consider a notice of proposed rulemaking to do so at a meeting later this month.
The operator also made additional filings with the commission advocating for mobile use in both the 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz range and 6.425GHz to 7.125GHz band. Mid-band spectrum, the operator wrote, “provides a balance of capacity and coverage” necessary for 5G.