T-Mobile worked with Nokia and Qualcomm to reach uplink speeds over 200 Mbps in a 5G data call using uplink carrier aggregation, a move it says is the first ever on a live commercial 5G standalone (SA) network in the U.S.
The ability to reach increased uplink speeds is particularly pertinent when large amounts of data need to be transmitted from customer devices at a quicker rate, providing a boost for applications like video livestreaming, gaming and extended reality (XR), according to the operator.
Working in the field rather than a lab, T-Mobile used a test smartphone with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF System and gear from Nokia to achieve a top uplink speed of 207 Mbps, which it says is the fastest ever recorded using sub-6 GHz spectrum.
T-Mobile made the same move in the lab weeks earlier where it reports hitting similar speeds.
In this test, T-Mobile merged two 5G channels of mid-band spectrum – 2.5 GHz and 1900 MHz.
“T-Mobile has led the industry with 5G standalone since 2020, and we're continuing to drive breakthroughs that advance 5G technology around the globe,” said T-Mobile President of Technology Ulf Ewaldsson in a press release. “We’re building the most advanced 5G network in the world, opening the door for massive innovation and laying the foundation for new capabilities that will transform the world around us.”
It's not quite ready for a full commercial deployment, though. T-Mobile said customers with compatible devices will begin taking advantage of uplink 5G carrier aggregation early next year when T-Mobile begins rolling it out.
AT&T’s 5G SA uplink achievement
Speaking of “firsts,” last month AT&T claimed to be the first to complete a 5G SA uplink 2-carrier aggregation data connection in the U.S. It used low-band 850 MHz and mid-band C-band 3.7 GHz spectrum.
That was conducted in AT&T’s Redmond, Washington, lab, whereas T-Mobile says its test was done on its live commercial 5G SA network with two mid bands of spectrum. AT&T has yet to go live with a nationwide commercial 5G SA network.
AT&T’s test used Nokia’s 5G AirScale and MediaTek’s 5G M80 mobile test platform. They achieved upload speeds of over 70 Mbps and 120 Mbps.