Qualcomm and Ericsson supporting T-Mobile’s low-band 5G testing efforts
Less than two weeks after detailing laboratory testing of 5G at 600 MHz, T-Mobile US this week moved that testing out to the field with an eye on how 600 MHz serves wide area coverage and penetrates inside buildings. For both the lab and field testing, T-Mo used Qualcomm’s X55 modem and Ericsson radio equipment.
While Verizon and AT&T are initially focused on deploying 5G using millimeter wave frequencies, T-Mobile has pinned its long-term 5G plans to its stash of 600 MHz spectrum, although T-Mo did stand up a limited 5G service using its own high-band frequencies.
Millimeter wave comes with limited propagation in general but is particularly constrained when it comes to building penetration. In response to questions on the field testing, a T-Mo spokesperson told RCR Wireless News, “The test was looking at a signal that originated from an outdoor radio. It’s also worth pointing out that they tested deep in-building…In other words, the signal had to go through several walls.” The company said it didn’t not measure speeds during this latest testing exercise.
In terms of coverage area, previous testing announced back in January suggests the carrier can provide 5G signal over a more than 1,000-square-mile area from a single tower.
In a tweet, T-MO’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray noted, “The modem used in this test…will be able to power the 5G 600 MHz devices capable of connecting customers to 5G across the U.S.”
The X55 is Qualcomm’s second generation 5G modem and, according to the company, “supports virtually any combination of spectrum bands and/or modes,” including 5G at millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz frequencies as well as standalone, non-standalone, TDD and FDD deployments.
Qualcomm expands 5G testing facility in Europe
Further on the 5G testing front, Qualcomm has expanded its U.K. facility with a new space dedicated to over-the-air 5G transmissions at millimeter wave frequencies. Early 5G deployments in Europe have focused on mid-band spectrum although a number of European Union regulatory agencies are in process of auctioning and allocating millimeter wave bands.
Sony will be the first device OEM to use the lab. Qualcomm said Sony “will provide pre-commercial [millimeter wave]form factor devices to the facility to test the capacity, throughput, latency and reliability of [millimeter wave]in multiple deployment scenarios.”
In a statement, Qualcomm Europe/MEA SVP Enrico Salvatori called out the need for 5G to ultimately tap a combination of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum. “Utilizing all types of spectrum…is critical for the success of 5G. Deployments across these bands will work hand-in-hand to bring consumers exciting new user experiences.”
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