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T-Mobile execs open a door to mmWave FWA

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Wailea, Hawaii – T-Mobile looks ready to finally find a serious use for the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum it has been hiding on the shelf. And that doesn’t include the phone.

Two T-Mobile executives said in interviews with Qualcomm’s that the company is looking instead to use its mmWave technology to upgrade its fixed-line wireless service in high-demand areas. snapdragon summit here last week.

Finding mmWave’s Role in FWA

said Grant Castle, vice president of device engineering at Bellevue, Wash. Airlines. “In some areas, we may find that we need to ramp it up. Millimeter waves could be a part of that.”

He and his colleague Karri Kuoppamaki, Senior Vice President of Technology Development and Strategy at T-Mobile, elaborated on an earlier tip from T-Mobile on the potential for FWA applications using mmWave. . For example, T-Mobile’s Neville Ray suggested: early this month It is possible that carriers will “play new spectrum assets such as millimeter waves in this environment.”

Kuoppamaki said:

He suggested that T-Mobile could meet growing FWA demand by optimizing the deployment of about 1GHz worth of mmWave spectrum for fixed receivers.

“Because we don’t have to worry about mobility, we can make fine-tuning, such as choosing more aggressive modulation or coding schemes,” said Kuoppamaki. “In the fixed wireless domain, multi-user MIMO may be more efficient.”

These changes do not require a revision of the core 5G standard, he noted. Castle, meanwhile, pointed out that his T-Mobile management of customer equipment at FWA is a key factor.

This is a much more solid endorsement of mmWave than carriers. Spent approximately $1.7 billion in three FCC auctions for mmWave spectrum, provided at last year’s summitAt the time, Kuoppamaki largely ruled out further investment in mobile mmWave services.

T-Mobile’s comments on mmWave FWA are notable given that Verizon began its 5G efforts in 2018 with a focus on FWA services on the mmWave spectrum. But Verizon has repeatedly said he is building one network for both fixed and mobile applications, while T-Mobile officials suggest building one. mmWave network dedicated to fixed services.

5G upgrades: SA, voice and more

Castle and Kuoppamaki also provided an update on T-Mobile’s commitment to 5G on low frequencies. Mid-range spectrum This allowed it to beat AT&T and Verizon in actual 5G speeds. T-Mobile now covers his 250 million people nationwide with its mid-band 5G network.

T-Mobile brought two surfboards to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit. A full-size magenta board representing 5G and a classy black board from Verizon.
(Source: Rob Pegoraro/Light Reading)

But the carrier’s latest 5G upgrade doesn’t include speed per se. June, T-Mobile announced It has launched commercial voice-over 5G service, aka Voice over New Radio (“VoNR” for short), in Portland and Salt Lake City, and promises to expand to “more regions this year.”

Its pace may have slowed since then, and its expansion is now set for 2023.

“We’re doing small-scale trials in a few other cities,” Castle said.

Castle said employers were “cautious” in testing, and defined a successful VoNR deployment as customer deaf.

of Standalone 5G architecture The ability to enable VoNR got a big boost when T-Mobile launched earlier this month. Bringing Mid-Band 5G Services to Standalone Architectures.

According to Castle, it will result in noticeable speed improvements for data users.

“The data experience is much smoother,” he said, because the network doesn’t have to downshift to 4G to set up a 5G connection. What’s more, this enables carrier aggregation for his three channels of T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G (two at 2.5GHz and his third at 1.9GHz). June test delivered 3 Gbit/s downloads.

Kuoppamaki said the ultimate goal here is to forget about 4G, saying, “This is another step towards an all-5G architecture.”

Responding to Complaints Regarding Compensation

Non-urban coverage has historically been T-Mobile’s relative weakness, but the company has been working to fix it. Rural strategy outlined last year.

“We continue to build new construction sites with new sites that we get from Sprint,” Castle said.

Kuoppamaki said T-Mobile relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning models to identify where it can maximize coverage.

Two executives said T-Mobile hopes SpaceX’s collaboration with Starlink Especially for covering tricky spots.

Mr Castle said:

Kuoppamaki said the two companies could begin testing around the end of next year. That test, however, depends on the successful launch of SpaceX’s giant, reusable Starship rocket and the successful deployment of Starlink’s larger V2 Starlink satellite, which includes the hardware needed to support T-Mobile’s spectrum. It’s taking

“It feels like a plan that we can execute together,” he said. “In the 2024 timeline, we hope to have basically nationwide coverage.”

Disclosure: Qualcomm covered the airfare and lodging costs for the journalists and analysts (including myself) covering this invitation-only event.

– Rob Pegoraro, Light Reading Special.follow him @Rob Pegoraro.

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