T-Mobile: We are right there in the middle of the 5G game

While T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) executives are busy this week challenging what rivals AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) are doing in 5G, they're also touting their own network progress and saying that they will be there in 5G as well, all in good time.

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As it turns out, despite the "BS" accusations directed at Verizon, T-Mobile itself is very active both with CTIA and 5G Americas in the U.S., and internationally, it's got a strong ally in its partnership with Deutsche Telekom (DT), T-Mobile CTO and EVP Neville Ray said during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call. "We are right there in the middle of the 5G game," he said.

"DT is probably the leading player in the European market in the 5G space," Ray said. "We have access to all of that knowledge, all of that information," he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "We're in the race."'

Almost a year ago, Deutsche Telekom announced its 5G:haus innovation laboratory, with plans to work with research organizations, startups and tried-and-true vendors as it works on the development and standardization of 5G technology. DT at the time said it would use its European footprint to build up the lab and showcase it in different locations across Europe.

T-Mobile executives made headlines this week after calling Verizon's 5G messaging a case of "BS" – to which Verizon fired back saying it invested billions more in its wireless network than "the discount carrier" in 2015. Verizon's rivals have dissed the carrier for jumping on the 5G bandwagon ever since it announced aggressive development plans last fall.

Asked during the company's earnings call for his two cents on what 5G will be, Ray said he thinks Verizon is under "so much pressure from us" from a network perspective, "they're looking to change the story and move on to the next thing. They're losing the LTE game very, very quickly. So let's change the story and focus on 5G."

The fact is there will be trials – Verizon is doing them and so is AT&T -- and T-Mobile will be running trials in 2016 both in the lab and in the field on some of the early 5G use cases, he said. A lot more spectrum bands will be worked through and identified for 5G. "Ironically, T-Mobile here, we've already got significant spectrum holdings in what we believe will be declared 5G spectrum allocations. That doesn't mean anybody has the spectrum that they need for a full 5G vision, but we're out in front and the other guys for their trials are filing STAs, they're having to get test licenses. We already have a big swap of spectrum across many parts of the country that we can use for 5G tests and trials."

Ray also took the opportunity to highlight T-Mobile's lead in Wi-Fi calling. "You look at VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, this movement of the calling base onto IP, we are so ahead of the game. My challenge to any of our competitors to put up a stat that comes anything close to for their call volume on LTE."

For more:
- see this Seeking Alpha transcript
- see this Re/code article

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