T-Mobile is asking the FCC for permission to conduct 5G tests in Las Vegas and Spokane, Washington, where it plans to use 1755-1760 MHz for mobile transmissions and 2155-2160 MHz for base transmissions.
If granted, the “uncarrier” will use prototype equipment from various manufacturers, which are not identified in the application. T-Mobile asked for the experimental special temporary authority from Nov. 1, 2018, to April 30, 2019, for two sites in Las Vegas and two sites in Spokane.
T-Mobile plans to conduct the trial of the 3GPP standardized version of 5G New Radio (NR) in nonstandalone mode, which requires an LTE carrier to act as the anchor for Dual Connectivity with 5G NR, the application stated. The prototype equipment will use 5 MHz of bandwidth and an emission designator of 5M0F7D; the modulation technique is digital OFDM.
T-Mobile received permission back in August to conduct similar-sounding experiments using 28 GHz and 39 GHz in Bellevue, Washington, which also required use of the AWS-3 G-Block for transmission of the LTE anchor carrier signal—spectrum licensed to SNR Wireless but not commercially activated. That authorization is good until March 1, 2019.
Last month, T-Mobile was granted authority to conduct tests in Bellevue and Redmond, Washington, using AWS-3 spectrum to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, up to 400 feet in the air. The operator at that time explained that it wanted to start testing the flying cell on wheels (COW) immediately to prepare for the ongoing hurricane season. The grant is good from Sept. 10, 2018, to March 1, 2019.
Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson were identified as suppliers of the prototype equipment. T-Mobile explained that it would be flying the UAS at up to 400 feet above ground, but it would be attached by a tether to T-Mobile-operated buildings; the tether is to keep the UAS in place directly at the coordinates provided in the application and will also supply power to the UAS and the base station.
UAS systems already are being used by other carriers, including after disasters that damaged infrastructure on the ground. To help with relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, AT&T deployed a flying COW in what it described as a first. That COW flew 200 feet above the ground. Verizon also has used drones to inspect towers after devastating storms in the Southeast.