T-Mobile opens new Test Lab optimized for 5G, but also includes 4G LTE, 3G, LAA, NB-IoT, etc

T-Mobile US  just opened a brand-new device lab designed to analyze performance and pressure test devices across the Un-carrier’s range of current and future 5G spectrum, as well as all current technologies.  The new, 20,000 square foot facility will test 5G devices as well as devices which enable License Assisted Access, narrowband IoT, LTE and 3G.  The new T-Mo test facility, known as the Launch Pad, also houses the carrier’s 5G Tech Experience  showcase for 4G and 5G, in addition to T-Mobile US’ network lab.

Why it matters:  New technology requires new and innovative approaches to testing, and the new lab will help T-Mobile ensure customers have the best experience possible with their new 5G devices.

The Un-carrier said in a press release that the new lab consists of more than a dozen testing areas, ranging from radio frequency signal testing to voice call/sound quality, video optimization and data throughput testing; “in-depth testing” of software, applications and services; and durability testing including drop-testing, water testing and sensitivity to heat.  Further, the lab has equipment to test devices across a range of frequencies from low-band and mid-band to millimeter wave — in both its “current and planned” 5G spectrum, which is expected to expand considerably, if its proposed merger with Sprint is finalized.

T-Mo said the new device lab “is equipped with new, rigorous tests to ensure smartphones, IoT devices and any other connected devices take full advantage of the high-, mid- and low-band spectrum from New T-Mobile 5G, if the merger is approved.”

T-Mobile US said that the Launch Pad is designed to bring device and network quality engineers together to innovate and refine technologies from end-to-end before delivering them to customers” — which it said it critical for 5G, which is a combination of new tech in both devices and the network itself. 

“5G will unlock SO MANY new capabilities and opportunities for innovation. And with that comes new complexities in delivering the technology to customers,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. “We’ve evolved in this new era of wireless to deliver continuous innovation and the best 5G experience possible — from the network to the devices in their hands — which is why I’m So. Damn. Proud. of this amazing team and cutting-edge lab,” he emphatically added.

The lab includes:

Sub-6 GHz 5G Radio Performance Chamber:  A test chamber for sub-6 GHz 5G testing, which has more than 50 antennas at different angles in order to assess signal quality transmission and reception.

5G Millimeter Wave Antenna Range: A mmWave test chamber, complete with magenta “T” logo.

Multi-band 5G SmartLab Chambers: A series of what the Un-carrier calls “5G SmartLab Chambers,” which support all of its current and planned 5G spectrum. T-Mo said that within those chambers, engineers can test devices across different combinations of spectrum and technologies.

Software Performance Lab: A device software testing area, which contains machines that the carrier said are capable of “simulating a week’s worth of customer usage in just 24 hours,” including testing the device keyboard, battery life, and applications from voice calls and music to gaming, videos, texting, email and more. Devices have to run continuously for 24 hours and perform hundreds of tasks without any glitches or freezes, T-Mobile US added.

Hardware Pressure Testing Room: A room for testing the durability of device hardware, where devices are put in machines which tumble and drop them, or that subject them to a wide range of temperatures to ensure that they continue to operate.




2 thoughts on “T-Mobile opens new Test Lab optimized for 5G, but also includes 4G LTE, 3G, LAA, NB-IoT, etc

  1. China’s IMT 2020 (5G radio standard) submission includes NB-IoT, which meets the technical requirements of large-scale machine connection (mMTC) scenario/use case. 3GPP’s submission also includes it too. Therefore, NB-IoT is likely to be accepted by ITU-R WP5D as a 5G technology even though its speed is low and latency may be higher then envisioned for 5G.

  2. T-Mobile has set December 6 as the date for its lowband 5G launch, which is intended to cover 200 million people in the US.

    CEO John Legere and president and chief operating officer Mike Sievert named the launch date during the operator’s latest “uncarrier” event on Thursday. The carrier expects to cover 5,000 cities in the US by the end of the year with 5G.

    The operator’s 5G service will work on the Samsung Note 10 and the OnePlus 7T 5G McLaren smartphones at launch. Download speeds will be around 100-Mbit/s at launch.

    This contrasts with AT&T’s and Verizon’s early launches of 5G using millimeter-wave spectrum. These have offered 1-Gbit/s download speeds but have only launched in tiny parts of select cities rather than with a broad, near-nationwide coverage like T-Mobile.

    T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray promised at the event that downloads will increase to “hundreds of megabits” per second as 2.5GHz spectrum from Sprint gets layered into the mix, if the Sprint acquisition by T-Mobile closes — as expected — early next year.

    T-Mobile has said that it won’t charge more for its 5G service. “That’s in big contrast to our competitors,” Sievert says. Verizon, for instance, has said it will eventually ask for a $10 upcharge for its 5G service, although it hasn’t asked early users for that premium yet.


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