T-Mobile US has announced that it plans to commence its 5G network rollout in 2019, and expects to achieve a nationwide footprint by 2020 utilising its recently acquired 600MHz spectrum holdings. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray commented: ‘There’s no such thing as 5G spectrum, and in the next decade we’ll see everything moving to 5G. Nationwide mobile 5G will require both high-band and broad low-band coverage, and having unused nationwide 600MHz spectrum means T-Mobile is in an ideal position to deliver’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month T-Mobile agreed to pay USD8 billion for a total of 1,525 regional licences in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) 600MHz Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction. In addition to the 600MHz band, T-Mobile has 200MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands, covering nearly 100 million people in major metropolitan areas.
In a related development, Finnish vendor Nokia has confirmed that it has been selected to play ‘an integral role’ in T-Mobile’s 5G plans. Specifically, Nokia says that it will bring 5G radio air interface improvements (spectral efficiency in particular) to low bands such as 600MHz, thus allowing for enhanced coverage benefits. Additionally, the vendor will look to enable the 5G network capabilities where 600MHz spectrum is the preferred coverage layer. Swedish vendor Ericsson has also committed to assisting T-Mobile with its 5G deployment, stressing that its product ‘will be aligned with 3GPP standardisation and ecosystem support’.