When T-Mobile CEO John Legere trashes his competitors and claims T-Mobile is building real nationwide mobile 5G, Mark McDiarmid is listening because he’s one of the people that has to make it happen. As T-Mobile’s SVP of radio network engineering and development, McDiarmid is in charge of the company’s radio technology roadmap, including spectrum strategy, RF planning and radio network design. He also represents T-Mobile to the 3GPP standards body.
T-Mobile is the only U.S. carrier to end up with a significant amount of 600 MHz spectrum, which the FCC transferred from the broadcast industry to the wireless industry through a complex reverse auction. McDiarmid will be a point person as the carrier uses its new low-band spectrum for both LTE and 5G deployments.
McDiarmid is also championing modular outdoor small cell installations that he said will enable T-Mobile to upgrade small cells without pulling new permits. The company is using license-assisted access (LAA) to combine licensed and unlicensed spectrum in its small cells.
McDiarmid’s plan is to use small cell densification to help T-Mobile deliver gigabit LTE today and potentially 5G tomorrow. He has said the company plans to deploy up to 25,000 small cells this year, some just a few hundred yards away from one another.