T-Mobile, Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson have completed what they say is the first 5G low-band data session on a commercial 5G modem. The 5G 600 MHz session was conducted at T-Mobile’s lab in Bellevue, WA. The 600 MHz spectrum band is what T-Mobile will use for its nationwide 5G rollout.

“This is a key step toward achieving our vision of 5G for All,” said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray in a press release. “This modem will power devices that tap into the 600 MHz low-band spectrum we’ll use to blanket the country with 5G.”

The session used a mobile test device based on the second-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem, RF transceiver and RF front end (RFFE) platform and commercial 5G radios from Ericsson Radio System. 

Squabbles about the benefits of various spectrum bands have featured prominently in 5G rollouts. T-Mobile is a proponent of lower frequency implementations because lower-frequency spectrum can support wider coverage areas in comparison with higher-frequency millimeter wave spectrum, which some other carriers are using. T-Mobile also notes that the Snapdragon X55 is multi-mode and therefore can be used in “virtually any combination of spectrum bands and modes,” including standalone and non-standalone configurations. 

Despite T-Mobile’s focus on 600 MHz implementations, its initial 5G deployments  will use millimeter wave spectrum , most likely because those standards are more mature. Those rollouts, which were announced last month, will feature the Galaxy S10 5G in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York City.

In January, T-Mobile, Ericsson and Intel said that they made data calls and video calls on 600 MHz spectrum on a live commercial network. The companies said the calls covered an area of more than 1,000 square miles from a single tower. 

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