T-Mobile joined the 5G bandwagon, announcing it is collaborating with Samsung to conduct 5G lab tests. The trials will use Samsung’s advanced beam-forming technology and use T-Mobile’s 28 GHz spectrum. The two firms plan to expand the trials in early 2017.
This is the first time T-Mobile has publicly talked about its 5G trials. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have said they are currently conducting 5G trials.
At the 2016 CTIA Super Mobility conference earlier this week, Karri Kuoppamaki, VP of network technology development and strategy at T-Mobile, elaborated on the trial, saying the company is mainly focusing on beam-forming and massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) technologies.
Kuoppamaki said that 5G is an important part of T-Mobile’s network strategy. He added that the company views 5G as a complement to its LTE network, which will be the workhorse network for the future. “We are working on 5G like everyone else, and it’s starting to come together,” he said. “But we have a long way to go.”
5G dominated many conversations at this week’s CTIA show. Besides T-Mobile, US Cellular, the No. 5 operator in the U.S., said that it will be testing 5G this year. Mike Irazarry, CTO of US Cellular, said that it will be conducting two to three 5G trials, the first of which will start next week. Irazarry said the first trial will use 28 GHz band spectrum and the second will use 15 GHz spectrum. The trials will look specifically at network propagation characteristics.
Samsung and T-Mobile are both part of the White House’s initiative on 5G. Earlier this year the government said it will dedicate $400 million to 5G research to keep the U.S. on the cutting edge of wireless networking. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is leading the 5G initiative, called Advanced Wireless Research.
Experts have speculated that the NSF research will explore difficult technical problems and get input from academia as well as public companies. The $400 million fund will help extend 5G research beyond what companies can do with their own R&D budgets.