T-Mobile boasts of 979 Mbps tests on LTE network, mobile 5G tests reaching 1.8 Gbps

T-Mobile said it tested LTE speeds of almost 1 Gbps. Image: T-Mobile

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said that the carrier recently conducted tests in its lab using LTE technology that he said reached peak speeds of close to 1 Gbps. The results, he said, indicate that T-Mobile will be able to at some point provide gigabit speeds over its existing LTE network.

“Just last week we reached nearly 1 Gbps (979 Mbps) on our LTE network in our lab thanks to a combination of three carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM (and an unreleased handset),” Ray wrote on T-Mobile’s website. “This is the fastest speed possible on a mobile device today and T-Mobile will absolutely be first to Gigabit speeds!”

Video source: T-Mobile

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This isn’t the first time Ray has promised to surpass the 1 Gbps threshold on T-Mobile’s LTE network. In October, Ray suggested the carrier plans to offer data transmissions “approaching gigabit LTE speeds” in at least some markets next year.

“We can do about 400 megabits per second on 4x4 and/or three-way carrier agg. And then the two coming together, you can start to double down, and as you expand your carrier-agg reach, you can move towards gigabits,” Ray said during the company’s quarterly earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the event.

Reaching 1 Gbps speeds on LTE would represent a notable achievement considering LTE networks have generally only supported speeds approaching 10 Mbps when Verizon and others introduced the technology in the United States in 2010. T-Mobile itself only launched its LTE network roughly four years ago. Moreover, top commercial LTE speeds from the likes of T-Mobile and Sprint today only reach 200 Mbps.

To be clear though, LTE speeds can vary wildly from one location to another depending on users’ distance from a tower, the design of the network itself, the spectrum being used and many other factors. Thus, it’s likely that T-Mobile’s 1 Gbps LTE offerings will only initially be available to a select group of customers, likely those in the dense, urban areas where wireless carriers are working to upgrade their networks.

In his post to T-Mobile’s site, Ray also offered a few more insights into the progress of T-Mobile’s LTE network buildout. He said T-Mobile’s LTE network now covers 313 million people, which he noted is just behind the 314 million that Verizon claims. He also said that T-Mobile’s “extended range LTE” network, which leverages the carrier’s growing cache of 700 MHz spectrum, now covers 250 million people.

Ray added that fully 64% of all of T-Mobile’s customers make VoLTE calls each day.

Finally, Ray offered some comments on the potential for 5G network technology. 5G stands as the next generation network technology to LTE, which is generally referred to as a 4G technology.

Ray said that 5G, when it is deployed in the coming years, “is about all the as-yet-unimagined possibilities of mobile technology. We see 5G completely transforming the mobile Internet and delivering brilliant breakthroughs. We see a 5G future where every major tech trend that sparks our imaginations—mobile VR, AR, AI and more—will all be made better and available on-the-go because of 5G.”

Specifically, Ray said that T-Mobile has already tested 5G mobile speeds of 1.8 Gbps, fixed speeds of 12 Gbps with latency under 2 milliseconds, 8x8 MIMO and four simultaneous 4k video streams.

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