T-Mobile and Nokia successfully completed a 5G data transmission on the operator’s live 600 MHz network. The test marked a world first and T-Mobile executives took the opportunity to boast about the reach of low-band airwaves.
On Twitter T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said the broadcast, which was conducted in Spokane, Wash., reached across hundreds of square miles. This compares to millimeter wave sites that cover less than a square mile, according to T-Mobile. CEO John Legere on Twitter touted the test as proof that T-Mobile will deliver “true mobile 5G,” as he poked fun at rivals AT&T and Verizon, which are both utilizing millimeter wave spectrum for initial 5G rollouts.
Verizon’s early fixed wireless 5G broadband deployments use the operator’s 5G TF network standard, but will be upgraded to 3GPP 5G NR standards later, and AT&T’s first 5G device is a Netgear mobile hotspot or “puck” device.
While T-Mobile continues to stress that low-band spectrum is essential for mobile 5G, the company also plans to use millimeter wave spectrum and is currently participating in the FCC’s 28 GHz auction.
If its proposed merger with Sprint is approved, the carrier will also be able to leverage Sprint’s large mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings.
T-Mobile has been rapidly repacking its 600 MHz spectrum, while simultaneously deploying 5G-ready equipment. The company has committed to a nationwide 5G network in 2020, but is currently lighting up 600 MHz Extended Range LTE, which is now live in more than 1,500 cities and towns in 27 states and Puerto Rico.
“The Un-carrier is focused on delivering 5G for everyone everywhere, while the other guys focus on 5G for the few – reaching just a few people in small areas of a handful of cities,” Legere said in a statement.