T-Mobile said it achieved speeds of 4.95 Gbps on a data call using its standalone 5G network and new radio dual connectivity (NR DC).
NR DC is a capability of standalone 5G networks that enables network operators to combine high-frequency millimeter wave spectrum with lower-frequency spectrum to boost speeds. Standalone 5G networks are those that do not rely on earlier generation cellular technology.
Major U.S. carriers initially deployed 5G in non-standalone mode, meaning that services relied, in part, on earlier generation technology. Since then, the carriers have made plans to shift toward standalone mode and T-Mobile has been the most aggressive on that front, now claiming nationwide standalone 5G service.
New Radio Dual Connectivity
T-Mobile’s new radio dual connectivity data call used mid-band spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band and millimeter wave spectrum to achieve the near-5 Gbps speed, according to a press release.
Before any network operator can expect such speeds on a broad scale, however, they will need to broadly deploy 5G in the millimeter wave bands – and that is expected to take a considerable amount of time. While millimeter wave spectrum supports the highest speeds, it does so over relatively short distances, requiring denser cell site infrastructure. And building that infrastructure will take time.
T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network relies on low-band 600 MHz and mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum. The carrier also has deployed 5G in millimeter wave bands in some areas, but those deployments are not extensive.