T-Mobile looks to mmWave for private networks - Mobile World Live

T-Mobile looks to mmWave for private networks

08 FEB 2021

T-Mobile US set its sights on a plan to use its mmWave assets for in-building and private network deployments, putting it on a trajectory to go head-to-head with rival Verizon in the enterprise market.

Mark McDiarmid, T-Mobile’s SVP of radio network engineering and development, told Mobile World Live “2020 was a little bit challenging for all of us in the industry around millimetre wave because it only works in dense venues”, which were largely closed for most of the year.

He said the operator took the opportunity to fine tune its mmWave strategy, aligning it “with how we think about in-building coverage, how we think about private and public 4G and 5G in buildings”.

The executive said “there are still parts of some cities where building public access street-level millimetre wave is going to make sense”, such as shopping districts, but flagged private and in-building networks as the area where mmWave deployments “will provide real benefits”.

T-Mobile used mmWave spectrum for its initial 5G launch in June 2019, but has since focused heavily on deployments using low- and mid-band airwaves. Neville Ray, the operator’s president of technology, has stated it will use mmWave primarily to add capacity in high-traffic areas.

McDiarmid added T-Mobile is “having a number of very, very rich discussions with customers and it’s been very fruitful”.

The operator recently set its sights on gains in the enterprise market, aiming to steal share from dominant rivals AT&T and Verizon. On its Q4 2020 earnings call, CEO Mike Sievert noted it was “building tailored products for large enterprise and government,” adding “we see room to run here”.

It will likely find itself competing head-to-head with Verizon, which recently teamed with Corning and Samsung to deploy indoor mmWave cell sites for private 5G networks.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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