5G test designed to explore inter-vendor millimeter wave system

In a recent field test, T-Mobile US connected a Nokia base station with Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform using the 28 GHz band in an outdoor environment in its hometown of Bellevue, Wash. T-Mobile US called this its “first inter-vendor 5G network,” and said the testing is in step with 3GPP’s emerging 5G NR standard.

For the field test, Nokia provided its commercially-available AirScale equipment, which connected to Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform, which uses the chipmaker’s radio frequency integrated circuit to provide broad spectrum support for 5G-related testing activities.

Millimeter wave frequencies provide the capacity needed to deliver major increases to throughput speeds, but come with challenging propagation characteristics that carriers and vendors around the world are continuing to trial. In this field test, T-Mobile US wanted to understand millimeter wave “radio performance and propagation testing” as well as how millimeter wave “can be integrated with existing networks and how it co-exists with LTE.”

Last year T-Mobile US spent billions in an U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction to purchase nationwide licenses for 600 MHz spectrum, which the carrier plans to leverage to deliver nationwide 5G.

CTO Neville Ray said, “We’re laser focused on building a nationwide 5G network for mobility, one that uses multiple spectrum bands, and launching field trials for millimeter wave spectrum is an important step forward.”

In a recent blog post looking ahead to 2018, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere repeated his claim that his company “will still be the only company making real, mobile, nationwide 5G happen. Our epic low-band spectrum haul blankets the country from coast to coast and ensures we can do two very big things: first, though our coverage already goes toe-to-toe with Verizon and has all the carriers scared to death–we’ll continue to grow and strengthen our LTE coverage today, and second, we announced we’d use part of that spectrum to build nationwide 5G.”

AT&T this week announced it would launch mobile 5G services in late 2018 in select US metro markets, while Verizon plans a 5G fixed wireless residential service for the second half of the year.

Legere referred to AT&T and Verizon plans as focused on “5G hot spots that won’t work when you leave your home.”



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