T-Mobile US has announced that it will launch a millimetre wave (mmWave)-powered 5G service in parts of six cities on 28 June. Interested subscribers will be able to access the new network using the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G handset. The 5G solution will go live in parts of Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York, T-Mobile notes. Further, the cellco says it is deploying Multi-band Dual Connectivity across its entire 5G network, aggregating mmWave 5G and LTE frequencies.
While T-Mobile has not disclosed which mmWave band the 5G network uses, a January 2019 5G voice call utilised spectrum in the 600MHz, 28GHz and 39GHz bands. In addition, the cellco recently acquired spectrum in both the 24GHz and 28GHz bands via Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctions. The cellco paid USD39.3 million for 865 28GHz licences and scooped 1,346 24GHz licences, paying USD803.2 million.
To date, T-Mobile has expressed limited enthusiasm over the widespread use of mmWave for 5G. Indeed, in April this year CTO Neville Ray wrote: ‘Some of this is physics – mmWave spectrum has great potential in terms of speed and capacity, but it doesn’t travel far from the cell site and doesn’t penetrate materials at all. It will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments.’