T-Mobile US has been quietly testing 5G technology in its 28 GHz spectrum with vendors Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung. The company is boasting that its recent 5G tests achieved throughput speeds of 12 G/bps and latency of less than 2 milliseconds.
During a keynote address at the Competitive Carriers’ Show earlier this week, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said that on the radio portion of the 5G network, the industry is coming close to a solution.
One T-Mobile test conducted in Ericsson’s facilities used an Ericsson radio and incorporated two-directional beam-steering antenna technology. During that test, T-Mobile was able to deliver multiple streams of 4K video at the same time, plus complete a voice call.
In another test with Nokia, T-Mobile used Nokia’s AirScale radio platform and achieved throughput rates of several G/bps and latency of 1.8 milliseconds. That test included the streaming of four simultaneous 4K videos plus a virtual reality application.
With Samsung, T-Mobile tested the company’s beam-forming technologies in the 28 GHz and in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum and demonstrated the ability to transfer wave signals from base stations to terminals.
Like many other operators, Ray talked about how T-Mobile was interested in “use cases” for 5G. However, unlike Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile seems laser-focused on consumer applications like video and social media. “Our 5G story is about the consumer,” he said. “What are the consumer services that will light up the industry?”
No Mention of SDN
Although Ray talked about the benefits of 5G, he didn’t directly address where T-Mobile stands on one of the key stepping stones to 5G — software-defined networking (SDN).
However, he did say that T-Mobile was working closely with Deutsche Telekom, which is the majority owner of T-Mobile. Deutsche Telekom has been trying to virtualize its networks, but its efforts are hindered by the fact that it owns networks that cross multiple national borders in 13 different countries.
In August, DT said that it had opened its first product site for its new pan-European network in Budapest, Hungary, and the site will be fully operational by year-end. The company plans to bring two more production sites online in 2017.