T-Mobile US confirms 5G roll-out to start in 2018

Tuesday 27 February 2018 | 17:07 CET | News

T-Mobile US announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it plans to start rolling out a 5G network this year. The company will cover an initial 30 cities this year, and customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas will be the first to experience it, when the first 5G smartphones launch early next year.

T-Mobile said that unlike its main competitors Verizon and AT&T, which are first launching fixed-wireless 5G services in urban areas, its aim to deliver mobile 5G nationwide. The 5G roll-out will come with continued upgrades to its 4G network to deliver faster speeds and increased capacity to customers wherever they go. 

In addition to deploying 5G-ready equipment and lighting up 5G in low-band spectrum (600 MHz), T-Mobile said it plans to begin building out 5G on mmWave spectrum this year. In addition, the company expects to deploy 25,000 small cells to light up LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), which has already delivered speeds over 1 Gbps in tests with Ericsson and Nokia. The two vendors will also be its main suppliers for the 5G network. 

Ericsson, Nokia confirmed as suppliers


Ericsson announced that it will be supplying 5G radio equipment to T-Mobile US, initially in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas this year. The operator will use 5G New Radio radios and basebands from Ericsson’s enhanced 5G Platform. 

Earlier this month, Ericsson announced the launch of 5G Radio Access Network commercial software, based on the recently approved first 3GPP 5G NR standard. Available in the fourth quarter of 2018, the software will provide multi-band support for global deployment, allowing T-Mobile to build out 5G equipment this year.

Nokia also confirmed it will deliver commercial 5G equipment to T-Mobile in preparation for the launch of services in select cities in early 2019, as well as assist in the LTE network upgrade. Nokia will begin building the network during Q2 2018, completing the deployment during 2020. 

By the end of this year, the 5G RAN will be deployed using both 600MHz and 28GHz mmWave AirScale equipment from Nokia "in some of the most heavily populated areas of the country, including Dallas", the vendor said. Nokia's 5G Acceleration Services will assist T-Mobile in launching the services in early 2019.

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