It’s not a big secret anymore that the number two wireless service provider stateside in terms of subscribers, which was the industry’s third-largest player just last year after ranking fourth not that long ago, has managed to take the early (and commanding) lead in the nation’s 5G infrastructure war.
Unsurprisingly, the two telecommunications equipment giants and the fast-growing “Un-carrier” are looking to continue their mutually beneficial arrangements, signing new 5-year deals aimed at strengthening T-Mo’s market position and further improving the user experience for millions and millions of customers across the nation.
More 5G breakthroughs to come
Both the “nationwide” low-band 5G signal, dubbed Extended Range for marketing purposes and currently covering no less than 280 million people, and the game-changing mid-band Ultra Capacity component of T-Mobile’s 5G layer cake, which is already accessible to over 106 million people, are expected to get big boosts in speed, performance, and availability as a direct result of these renewed partnerships.
Ericsson, for one, is touting a “rapid 5G use-case evolution” and future “spectral efficiency” improvements as two of the key objectives of its respective multi-billion-dollar agreement with T-Mobile. This follows in the footsteps of a similarly lucrative contract, estimated at $3.5 billion, secured by the world’s second-largest mobile network infrastructure company back in 2018 to support Magenta’s original nationwide 5G deployment.
Now that that’s done and T-Mo has managed to launch the world’s first nationwide standalone 5G network while also being the first (and only) US carrier to successfully combine low and mid-band spectrum, the door is open for many other incredible breakthroughs and industry-leading achievements.
Both Ericsson and Nokia seem to be hinting at “multi-user massive MIMO” as one of the biggest technologies to watch as T-Mobile will try to increase its already remarkable Ultra Capacity 5G speeds even more while also reducing latency.
T-Mobile’s towering 5G availability could get even better
As teased a few weeks back by Magenta President of Technology Neville Ray, another crucial goal for 2021 and beyond is making voice over 5G or voice over new radio (VoNR) a commercial reality, which should be possible in the near future thanks to Ericsson.
For its part, Nokia (which, by the way, is not the same Nokia that sells all those budget-friendly HMD Global-licensed Android phones) pompously claims its “market-leading AirScale radio access solutions” will be able to shift the “Un-carrier customer experience into overdrive” soon, focusing on expanding the coverage of T-Mo’s low-band 5G network in addition to improving the mid-band 5G speeds as well.
All in all, it sure sounds like T-Mobile subscribers are in great hands, at least for the next five years, while Verizon and AT&T are left scrambling for short-term workarounds to a problem that may not be properly fixed for years to come.
We’re talking, of course, about the two’s lack of mid-band 5G resources, a department where T-Mobile excels after last year’s Sprint takeover. Verizon’s only answer at the moment is a terribly spotty and decidedly unreliable but blazing fast Ultra Wideband network, while any and all new spectrum Big Red might be able to acquire as part of an ongoing FCC auction needs years to be deployed and fully exploited.