T-Mo plans 5G deployments, 25K LAA small cells

T-Mo plans 5G deployments, 25K LAA small cells

Northern Beaches News -
T-Mobile US laid out plans to start building out 5G and '5G-ready' capabilities in 30 markets this year, pinning its 5G strategy on mobile, smartphone-based 5G services once devices are available in 2019.

T-Mobile US said that it “plans to build out 5G in 30 cities this year,” and added that users in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas “will be first to experience it, when the first 5G smartphones launch early next year.”

The lines between LTE Advanced Pro and 5G are beginning to blur as carriers start to more aggressively market their 5G efforts this year. Sprint, for example, this week named half a dozen markets where it is deploying massive multiple-input-multiple-output capabilities as part of software-upgradeable “5G readiness.” T-Mobile US’ plans appear to be a mix of 5G New Radio capabilities, software upgradeability to 5G NR and LTE Advanced Pro technologies. The carrier said that it is deploying “5G-ready equipment” as it builds out its 600 MHz spectrum and that will be “lighting up 5G” in that low-band spectrum as well as “building out 5G on millimeter wave spectrum this year.” In addition, the carrier said that it will deploy 25,000 small cells with License-Assisted Access to increase speed and network capacity.

“Every dollar we invest in our network is a 5G dollar,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile CTO, in a statement. “All the LTE Advanced work we do is 5G work, and we’re leading the industry with the most advanced LTE network in the country. Every step we take — every innovation – builds toward a future-proof 5G network, one where our customers continue to come out on top.”

Fixed wireless access use cases are able to leverage a Wi-Fi front-end so that existing devices can make use of 5G connectivity. Verizon has emphasized FWA, while AT&T expects its initial 5G devices to be a personal hot spot or “puck” to provide 5G services in much the same fashion.

Early 5G devices with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem family, ranging from PCs to smartphones, are expected to starting launching in 2019 — according to Ray, some devices are on-track for early 2019 availability. T-Mobile US is betting that being first with mobile 5G will ultimately score higher points with customers than being first with just any 5G service.

“As soon as 5G phones hit the market consumers will see what’s what and come to T-Mobile,” tweeted Ray, while CEO John Legere called Verizon and AT&T’s strategies “a joke. Real 5G will be mobile.”

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