T-Mobile is best known for its aggressive promotional and pricing programs. But according to a blog post from the company’s chief technology officer Neville Ray, T-Mobile also has made important technology advances, with more planned for 2016.
Among other things, the company plans to roll out 4×4 MIMO – a technology that uses multiple antennas to improve performance — and three-band carrier aggregation, Ray said. Carrier aggregation combines spectrum in multiple frequency bands to increase the bandwidth that a network operator can deliver.
Ray also pledged to participate in the upcoming broadcast spectrum auction and to champion LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U). The latter enables network operators to use unlicensed spectrum to support LTE – a scenario that has raised concerns in the WI-Fi community. But stakeholders seem to be making progress in resolving their differences on this matter.
In typical T-Mobile fashion, Ray also took aim at competitors in his blog post. In a veiled reference to recent Verizon activity, for example, he cautioned readers not to be “distracted by certain carriers teasing premature promises of 5G.” He noted that industry standards don’t exist for 5G yet and that “you’ll see that we fully intend to bring 5G to the market in a very real way when the time comes.” He also noted that T-Mobile’s existing work with advanced LTE is a prerequisite for 5G.
T-Mobile Technology Achievements
As of year-end 2015, T-Mobile’s technology accomplishments according to Ray include:
- More than doubling the company’s LTE footprint to reach 304 million Americans
- Making T-Mobile Extended Range LTE available in 300 markets, thereby improving the company’s LTE signal
- Making Wideband LTE available nationwide, with peak speeds in excess of 150 Mbps
- Enabling customers to make nearly 40% of their calls using voice over LTE (VoLTE), which Ray called “the highest performance” voice service on LTE
Extended Range LTE is the company’s name for LTE service that aggregates low-band and mid-band spectrum to provide what Ray called “a network experience that’s greater than the sum of its parts.” According to the blog post, the service carries LTE signals two times farther and four times deeper into buildings. T-Mobile now carries 18 devices that support this technology including popular models, Ray noted.
“Wideband LTE” is the term T-Mobile uses for LTE service delivered over two 15 MHz spectrum blocks.