T-Mobile Expands 5G Network with New Mid-Band Spectrum Layer


T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) announced that it has expanded its Ultra Capacity 5G nationwide coverage and capacity. The company says it is adding a “massive boost” to its Ultra Capacity 5G network with a new nationwide layer of 1900 MHz mid-band 5G spectrum. Use of 1900 MHz spectrum dates back to 2G when Sprint launched the U.S.’s first Personal Communications Service digital cellular network in November, 1995, in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. T-Mobile garnered that large swath of 1900 MHz spectrum when it merged with Sprint in April 2020.

Today, T-Mobile commands an aggregate national weighted average spectrum depth of 323 MHz across the various 5G mid-band frequencies it owns. The 178 MHz of EBS/BRS 2.5 GHz spectrum that it also gained in the Sprint deal represents the lion’s share. The 1900 MHz band adds another 66 MHz. The company also has 37 MHz of AWS-1 (1.7/2.7 GHz) spectrum. The remaining 42 MHz is primarily 27 MHz of C-band and 12 MHz of 3.45 GHz, won in FCC Auctions 107 and 110, respectively. 

The company has begun testing and is making available three-carrier aggregation that combines three channels of high-capacity mid-band 5G spectrum. Tests have reached peak speeds topping 3 Gbps on T-Mobile’s 5G Standalone network. So far, only customers with the Samsung Galaxy S22 can access this high-speed capability in parts of the network. Three-carrier aggregation will expand nationwide, and will be accessible by additional devices, in the coming months.

T-Mobile says that its network now reaches 323 million people with Extended Range 5G that uses low-band 600 MHz and 260 million people with Ultra Capacity 5G that uses the combination of mid-band spectrum. The company says that it has reached its mid-band 5G year-end 2022 goal several weeks ahead of schedule and expects to reach its target of covering 300 million people with Ultra Capacity 5G by the end of 2023.

“We’re rapidly executing on our vision to deliver the highest capacity network this country has ever seen,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “We’ve led in 5G coverage from the beginning, delivering a massive 5G footprint that continues to grow. And with Ultra Capacity 5G, it’s undeniable that T-Mobile customers have access to the most powerful 5G network around.”

In August, T-Mobile announced “dead-zone” cell phone coverage across the U.S. using 1900 MHz spectrum and Starlink Gen2 satellite cell coverage, Inside Towers reported. With the Starlink and 1900 MHz spectrum, T-Mobile plans to use the Gen2 satellites to connect to common mobile devices. The companies will be testing the service in 2023.

By John Celentano, Inside Towers Business Editor

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