Equally focused on breaking through largely theoretical new 5G territory and delivering practical network upgrades that its customers can already experience in the real world, T-Mobile recently managed to extend its competitive edge in nationwide speed tests, while also: rolling out Voice Over 5G technology… on a fairly limited scale.
The “Un-carriers” last incredible breakthrough
will likely have an even smaller impact on real user experiences in the near term than VoNR (aka Voice Over New Radio or Voice Over 5G), which makes it no less breathtaking and hard to match by Verizon and AT&T.
Verizon still has mmWave (lab) supremacy
This outstanding achievement was achieved by merging two 2.5 GHz Ultra Capacity 5G channels and an additional channel of 1900 MHz spectrum on the world’s first “national” stand-alone 5G network, which still unmatched in the US, even for almost two years after the original bet.
Of course Verizon passed 5+ Gbps 5G speeds (in a lab) in 2020, but there are some key differences between the two achievements that are well worth highlighting. In addition to relying entirely on 5G technology thanks to the aforementioned “standalone” signal, T-Mobile’s record didn’t include any millimeter wave spectrum.
In theory at least that means it should be a lot easier to replicate those 3+ Gbps numbers by real users… at some point in the future, since mid-band spectrum is much more common than mmWave, to not to mention that the S22 is also available for anyone to buy.
The Galaxy S22 series of ultra-high-end Samsung smartphones will happen to be the first to tap into the aforementioned 1900MHz 5G channel “later this year”, with 5G Carrier Aggregation (NR CA) of two 2.5GHz 5G channels already available in “parts” of T-Mobile’s leading network to maximize speeds, performance and capacity.
“Additional” devices, likely including Apple’s upcoming iPhone 14 family, and additional “parts” of Magenta’s 5G network will join the Standalone 5G Carrier Aggregation lot in the “near future”, slowly pushing users closer to 3 Gbps. come to mark without compromising on coverage.
Mid band is the whole ball game
Ultra-capacity 5G, mind you, which is the common name of the mid-band network where this three-channel aggregation will take place, already covers about 225 million people across the country (at least in theory), aiming to jump to 260 million by the end of this year. years and an incredible 300 million sometime in 2023.
Granted, very few of those people will be able to get in, well, 2 Gbps or so from 3 Gbps any time soon, but At least T-Mobile lets its customers dream of massive tangible speed upgrades, unlike Verizon and AT&T, which are still in the works. mid-band spectrum collection phase of their 5G network expansions after wasting far too much time trying to make mmWave happen.
The old layer cake might as well be made entirely from mid-band ingredients these days.
Millimeter wave, also known as high-band, spectrum can theoretically deliver significantly faster speeds than mid-band 5G technology, as demonstrated by Verizon a few years ago (and not only then), but due to inherent limitations in signal penetration, its widespread use has proved simply unfeasible.
In fact, we’ve got it so unfeasible that Big Red itself essentially stopped whipping up the technology, instead combining it with its newly deployed C-band signal in one T-Mobile Ultra Capacity rival Ultra Wideband network. And today we have the 999th piece of evidence supporting mid-band supremacy.