Could gigabit LTE speeds really be on the horizon for T-Mobile? Sounds like it.
During the carrier’s Monday earnings call, CTO Neville Ray said the combined roll outs of carrier aggregation and 4×4 Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) will put the carrier within striking distance of gigabit speeds as soon as next year.
“In terms of speeds, if you think about a world where you have three-way carrier (aggregation) and you can do 4×4 and you can do both together which is the story of 2017, then you’re approaching gigabit LTE speeds, which is really exciting for 2017,” Ray said. “We can do about 400 megabits per second on 4×4 and/or three-way carrier agg. And then the two coming together, you can start to double down and as you expand your carrier agg reach, you can move towards gigabits.”
Ray’s comments come on the heels of T-Mobile’s launch of 4×4 MIMO technology in 319 cities across the country last month. The carrier also launched 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) for downloads and 64 QAM for uploads in half of its network and said the technology would be available across all its U.S. cell sites by the end of this month.
Ray previously said 4×4 MIMO would initially be supported on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge following a software update scheduled for October. On Monday, though, Ray noted “multiple devices” with 4×4 MIMO support will be launched in 2017.
Just a month and a half after launch, Ray said more than 1 million customers are already utilizing 4×4 MIMO on their devices and said there will be “great traction on 4×4 capability in 2017.”
Also coming in 2017 is the launch of more of T-Mobile’s band 66 AWS-3 spectrum. Though T-Mobile earlier this month deployed some of its AWS-3 spectrum, Ray said more of the airwaves are expected to come to market next year and will serve as a “valuable tool” for the Un-carrier.