T-Mobile seeks more time for mid-band 5G tests - Mobile World Live

T-Mobile seeks more time for mid-band 5G tests

16 APR 2019

T-Mobile US continued to plan for a scenario where its proposed merger with Sprint is rejected, seeking permission to perform deeper research into how it could deploy 5G without access to the latter’s 2.5GHz holdings.

The operator called for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend testing of its mid-band AWS-3 spectrum to 30 April 2021. T-Mobile had originally only sought short-term clearance for such trials in a request made in November 2018.

As before, T-Mobile said the tests would be conducted in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Spokane, Washington, using prototype equipment from various vendors. It plans to use spectrum from 1755MHz to 1760MHz for mobile transmissions and 2155MHz to 2160MHz for base transmissions.

Dilemma
The request comes as T-Mobile faces continued uncertainty about the outcome of a proposed merger with Sprint, which it said would give it access to key 2.5GHz spectrum for 5G deployments, and a shortage of other mid-band options should the deal fall through.

T-Mobile is working on contingencies: in September, CTO Neville Ray told Mobile World Live the operator could reuse its mid-band PCS and AWS spectrum, which currently carry LTE traffic, for 5G while it waits for the government to free up more licensed mid-band airwaves.

It isn’t alone in looking to recycle its mid-band holdings. AT&T also announced plans to upgrade its 1900MHz (PCS) spectrum to 5G.

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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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