T-Mobile US achieves speeds over 3 Gbps using 5G Carrier Aggregation on its 5G SA network
T-Mobile US said it was able to aggregate three channels of mid-band 5G spectrum, reaching speeds over 3 Gbps on its standalone 5G network. It’s the first time the test has ever been done with a commercial device, here the Samsung Galaxy S22 powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform with Snapdragon X65 Modem-RF System), on a live production network, the company said.
5G Carrier Aggregation (New Radio or NR CA) allows T-Mobile to combine multiple 5G channels (or carriers) to deliver greater speed and performance. In this test, the carrier merged three 5G channels – two channels of 2.5 GHz Ultra Capacity 5G and one channel of 1900 MHz spectrum – creating an effective 210 MHz 5G channel.
The achievement is only possible with standalone 5G architecture (SA) and is just the latest in a series of important SA 5G milestones for T-Mobile. The carrier said it was the first in the world to launch a nationwide SA 5G network nearly two years ago. The carrier began lighting up Voice over 5G (VoNR) this month so that all services can run on 5G. By removing the need for an underlying LTE network and 4G core, 5G will be able to reach its true future potential with incredibly fast speeds, real-time responsiveness and massive connectivity, the company mentioned.
NR CA is live in parts of T-Mobile’s network today, combining two 2.5 GHz 5G channels for greater speeds, performance and capacity. Customers with the Samsung Galaxy S22 will be among the first to experience a third 1900 MHz 5G channel later this year. This functionality will expand across the carrier’s network and to additional devices in the near future.
T-Mobile US was the first in the world to launch a nationwide SA 5G network nearly two years ago and has been driving toward a true 5G-only experience for customers ever since. Just this month the Un-carrier began deploying Voice over 5G (VoNR) so ALLvoice services can run on 5G. By removing the need for an underlying 4G LTE network and 4G core, 5G will be able to reach its true future potential with incredibly fast speeds, real-time responsiveness and massive connectivity. The carrier’s 5G network covers 315 million people across 1.8 million square miles. 225 million people nationwide are covered with super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G, and T-Mobile expects to cover 260 million in 2022 and 300 million next year. It also has the fastest 5G network, according to Ookla speed tests in Q4 2021:
Note that neither Verizon or AT&T have deployed 5G SA core networks with no future dates specified.
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T-Mobile spent $304 million in FCC auction 108, and it won 90% of all the licenses sold or 7,156 of the 7,872 total licenses that received winning bids. The auction offered up a total of 8,017 licenses in mostly rural locations around the country, but not all of those licenses received winning bids.
“With most of the available spectrum in the 2.5GHz band located in rural areas, this auction provides vital spectrum resources to support wireless services in rural communities,” according to the FCC.
T-Mobile was widely expected to bid heavily in the auction, considering it is the only big wireless network operator that uses the 2.5GHz spectrum band. Moreover, other operators like Verizon, AT&T and Dish Network have spent heavily in other FCC spectrum auctions, leaving them with little financial firepower to chase 2.5GHz spectrum.
However, the FCC’s 2.5GHz auction generated far less interest among bidders than most analysts had expected. Before the auction started in late July, estimates ranged from $1 billion to $5 billion in total bids. But when the auction ended earlier this week, it generated just $428 million in total bids. Thus, T-Mobile accounted for roughly 71% of all spending in the auction.
Other big spenders in the auction include PTI Pacifica ($18 million); TeleGuam Holding ($17 million); and Evergy Kansas Central ($13 million).
T-Mobile will undoubtedly use its auction winnings to expand the rural growth strategy it laid out in recent years.
This is just the latest batch of spectrum licenses T-Mobile has purchased in recent years for its 5G network. Aside from the vast 2.5GHz holdings it acquired via its $26 billion purchase of Sprint in 2020, T-Mobile also spent around $10 billion in the FCC’s recent C-band auction, $3 billion in the FCC’s 3.45GHz auction earlier this year and $3.5 billion for 600MHz spectrum licenses from Columbia Capital in a deal announced last month.