T-Mobile US said it will conduct 5G network technology field trials in the second half of this year with both Ericsson and its LTE network vendor Nokia.
"T-Mobile and Nokia are using pre-selected spectrum in the 28 GHz band to trial and test 5G components and accompanying use cases that support massive bandwidth capacity and virtual zero latency," T-Mobile and Nokia said in a brief release on the news. "This will enable T-Mobile to evaluate emerging 5G technologies and explore new business opportunities of an increasingly connected world."
Nokia said it is developing "a pre-standards 5G test network" for the lab and field trials.
Added Ericsson in a release: "The two companies will develop and test selected 5G use-cases and services to enable T-Mobile to evaluate emerging 5G technologies, drive 5G development and standardization and to explore new business opportunities."
"We're looking forward to working with Nokia to bring 5G capabilities out of the lab and into field trials with LTE technology and spectrum we already have today," said Neville Ray, T-Mobile's CTO, in a release from Nokia. "Building on investments we've made to deliver America's fastest 4G LTE, this puts us on the path to real 5G use cases once 5G consumer smartphones are available in the 2020+ timeframe."
Ray's comments about the "2020+ timeframe" are likely carefully geared to back up comments he and T-Mobile CEO John Legere made during T-Mobile's recent quarterly conference call. The executives blasted the notion that Verizon will be able to offer its customers super-fast 5G speeds in the next couple of years.
"That's pure h****s***; it's not going to happen," Legere said on the call. "Either (Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam) doesn't know, or what they're attempting to do is what they've done before several times, to connect the current (capabilities) to a long-term strategy for 5G, but call it 5G way before the standards or the handset capabilities are available."
"We're starting to see a lot of news starting to form in and around the 5G space," Ray said during the call. "I think folks have seen some of the earlier announcements, and you know, Verizon trying to move and saying they're going to be the first to 5G, well, it's kind of BS, to be honest."
Also during the call Ray noted that Deutsche Telekom is T-Mobile's partner and that "DT is probably the leading player in the European market in the 5G space," he said.
"We have access to all of that knowledge, all of that information," he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "We are right there in the middle of the 5G game."
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said last month that the nation's largest carrier would be "the first company to roll out 5G in the United States, and we are currently preparing for those field trials."
Verizon earlier this week said its early 5G tests hint at blazing fast network speeds topping 10 Gbps and the ability to transmit 4K video while moving. The operator, which is conducting its 5G tests with partners Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Samsung and Qualcomm, also revealed that it is on track to commercially launch 5G as early as 2017.
Nokia this week announced its new AirScale Radio Access base station, which the company has described as "5G ready." Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri said that means the product can be upgraded to whatever the industry's 5G standard ends up being via software and radio-equipment upgrades.
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