T-Mobile today turned on its newly integrated 2.5 GHz spectrum in New York City, making it the first city to offer the operator’s full “layer cake” for 5G with a mix of low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum.
Since closing its Sprint merger on April 1, T-Mobile has been moving rapidly on network integration work and just two week ago lit up 2.5 GHz for 5G in Philadelphia.
Unlike Philadelphia, Sprint had already launched 5G using 2.5 GHz in NYC last summer, meaning the latest activation required a different type of transition, T-Mobile’s Karri Kuoppamaki previously told FierceWireless
In addition to the 2.5 GHz, making up T-Mobile’s 5G layer cake in NYC is low-band 600 MHz and millimeter wave 28 GHz spectrum. AT&T, meanwhile, has its low-band and mmWave “5G+” service live in New York and competitor Verizon launched mmWave 5G using 28 GHz in the city in September 2019.
T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray announced the New York City 2.5 GH activation on Twitter:
It's on! Today, customers in NY on the Galaxy S20+ & Ultra are the first to have access to the FULL.LAYER.CAKE.— Neville (@NevilleRay) May 5, 2020
✔ Low-band 5G
✔ Mid-band 5G
✔ mmWave 5G pic.twitter.com/mVov3X2Wh0
The first users who can tap into all three layers are those with a Samsung Galaxy S20+ or Ultra. The devices became available in March and are the first two 5G handsets in the U.S. with support for both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave bands.
In just over a month since the long-awaited close of its merger, T-Mobile is following through on plans to immediately begin deploying more mid-band spectrum, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. T-Mobile had additional time to prepare for integration though, while its Sprint merger deal dragged out for about two years.
T-Mobile, in arguing for its Sprint deal, repeatedly touted capabilities the combined company could deliver with a “transformational nationwide 5G network.”
The mix of spectrum bands promise to deliver a combination of enhanced speed, capacity, and coverage. The carrier has said average 5G speeds on T-Mobile’s new network will be up to eight times faster than current LTE in a few years and 15 times faster within six years.
Samsung devices that can tap T-Mobile’s integrated network in NYC also support both non-standalone and standalone (SA) 5G mode capabilities. While T-Mobile is still operating in non-standalone (NSA) 5G, it’s working to launch SA 5G later this year and earlier this week announced a handful of SA 5G milestones achieved using a multi-vendor production core on its commercial 5G network.