T-Mobile three-channel carrier aggregation testing spotted in Dallas

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Much of T-Mobile’s LTE focus lately has been on its Extended Range LTE rollout, but T-Mo has also been working on another major LTE improvement.

Reddit user dallas75252 recently discovered that T-Mobile is testing three-channel carrier aggregation in Dallas, Texas. The carrier aggregation was working with LTE bands 2, 4, and 12, and it yielded speeds greater than 60Mbps. Check out the screenshots from Samsung’s Service Mode below.

tmo3xcatesting

Unsurprisingly, T-Mobile didn’t really feel like spilling many details on its testing. A T-Mo spokesperson said to FierceWireless, “We’ve been doing some advanced LTE field trials in the area, but don’t have anything to announce yet.”

Carrier aggregation is nothing new, and we’ve seen two-channel carrier aggregation in the past. Three-channel carrier aggregation ups the ante further, providing increased capacity and faster speeds. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray recently said that we should see three-way carrier aggregation in some parts of the US around mid-year, and it looks like that could indeed happen. You will need a compatible smartphone to access that three-channel carrier aggregation, though, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 or HTC 10.

Via: FierceWireless
Source: Reddit

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  • Walt

    So 20×20 band 4 plus 5×5 band 2 plus 5×5 band 12? I wonder if that will hit 200 mbps!

    • Calgrav24

      According to the pictures it’s 20×20 B4 plus 15×15 B2 plus 5×5 B12.
      So essentially it will be 40×40 all together.

      • However, with bands 2 and 4 with signal strength less than -110dBm, their 35 MHz are good for much less speed (about a third) than otherwise.

        • a d00d

          LTE has better processing gain than earlier standards and seems to perform better at lower signal levels; however, when it finally drops out, it drops out HARD, probably due to using high-order (16 to 64 level) QAM compared to WCDMA, though this is network specific and can vary on an active link (at the expense of speed, of course). Also the channels are VERY wide now–15 to 20 MHz in most places on B4–so the noise floor is much higher. This situation would only get worse with even wider channels.

          Oh, and don’t forget the lousy antenna in your phone you have to deal with courtesy of the SAR rules.

        • I should add that, according to the 3GPP spec, when aggregating bands 2, 4 and 12, the aggregate bandwidth, including the uplink and the downlink, is limited to 50 MHz, or less than the aggregate bandwidth that T-Mobile is licensed to use.

        • Jay Holm

          That’s weird, why limit bandwidth? I suppose 40mhz of combined spectrum is still good though.

        • That’s because the 3GPP specifies that the widest channels in bands 2, 4 and 12 are 20, 20 and 10 MHz, respectively.

          Of course, T-Mobile licenses in Dallas are limited to 20, 25 and 5 MHz, respectively, of contiguous spectrum. So, the most that T-Mobile could aggregate across these 3 bands in Dallas is 45 MHz.

          Not too shabby, but the performance of CA is less than the sum of each channel due to delays coordinating all carriers for the same user.

      • Jaden Keuten

        CA only aggregates downlink at this point, so it’d be 40×20, 40×15, or 40×5. Uplink CA is in a later release.

    • JG

      That’s where I went to… If they could get 150Mbps on a single band 20×20 what if they could get all three bands 20×20’d…

      Google needs to start picking up some spectrum. Compliment whatever T-Mobile has in the area already. After all, whatever helps T-Mobile will also help Google’s Project Fi. I’d imagine being the most valued company (or in a very close second place depending on the day) they’d have a little cash on hand they could work with AT&T or Verizon. Collectivly they own some 70% of the sub-1Ghz spectrum if I recall Legere’s rants correctly. They surely have enough they could stand to lose a little. I’d imagine the FCC would get behind it as the added spectrum would help make T-Mobile (& Project Fi) more competitive against “dumb & dumber” by extending its range…

    • Fghbb89

      Don’t forget QAM and MImo increases.

  • John Doe

    60Mbps? that seems disappointing…I already get that in NYC on only one band, I use a Nexus 6 anyways and I don’t think it supports carrier aggregation :(

    • enkay1

      It’s mid-day so other customers are most certainly using that particular cell site. A speed test at midnight or 1AM would yield much higher results.

    • a d00d

      I have a Shamu as well and it DOES support dual-band CA, but for some odd reason B12 is excluded while B17–a subset of B12–IS included. I want to say B2-B4 works, but I don’t remember: I’ll have to read below or look to see for sure.

      That said, I’m not using as much data as I was before so it isn’t as important to me as it once was; besides, all the heavy video use has really bogged down data speeds to the point that it becomes useless at times. Tri-band CA may fix this, but most likely the improvement will only be temporary as data appetite shows no signs of waning. (i’m the exception and I know it.)

      Oh, and remember that CA is not a panacea: it is less efficient that one continuous block of spectrum. LTE can support 100 MHz channels, but nowhere other than some 3rd world countries that chunks like that even remotely available. Also: that’s probably 60 megaBYTES per second, and remember how congested TMo’s network has become.

      • a d00d

        Replying to myself, after a surprising amount of searching: the XT1103 does NOT support *ANY* of TMo-USA’s bands for CA. Only AT&T and Verizon’s setups are apparently supported, in the form of low band–high-band (and possibly vice-versa): B2-B13/17 are supported, yet not B2-B12 for some unknown reason. Only newer devices support high-high like B2-B4; to my knowledge, nothing yet supports low-low, and may not ever due to physics.

        Anyway, I hope I can keep my Shamu a bit longer because, unlike some, I *REALLY* like the 6 inch screen that I can fit in my pocket, even with a Supcase Unicorn-Beetle (think Otterbox Defender, but at half the price and because Otterbox refused to make a case for the Nexus 6).

  • Honestly, If 60Mbps was the standard, I wouldn’t even mind. Still would be faster than my home internet lol and It’s more than fast enough for my mobile needs.

  • DW Duck

    I already get between 65 and 112 depending on the time of day. So not really sure if I need any faster.. But I’ll take it anyway.

  • Bradley Karas

    Pretty sure Tampa will be seeing this soon too…saw band 2 LTE in an area that already has strong 20×20 band 4 and 5×5 band 12. Is the G5 capable? I’ve been using that lately more than my S7

    • Jaden Keuten

      It is, but you can’t tell if you’re connected to 3xCA on an LG phone.

  • Jason Caprio

    Band 2 is no joke. at 15×15 it will be a nice extra chunk of bandwidth!

  • cehiatt87

    I got 77 MBPS down and 24 up in Raleigh, NC yesterday.

  • Walt

    Shut down Edge and Hspa and use all that extra bandwidth for an all LTE network. Save 600mhz (once they aquire it) for 5G only

    • Jay Holm

      Yes! Stupid EDGE definitely needs to be shut down!!! And that spectrum integrated into the LTE network.

  • Omar Boyer

    Los angeles NEEDS this bad !!! I have to put my phone on 2g/edge and use hspa+ which is faster ,i get on hspa+ up to 15 , lte struggles here bad on band 4 ,ela,montebello,pico rivera ,dwtwn ,hollywood, it struggles bad ,i have screen shots to prove it how i post on here? 1-3 on lte , i was in santa monica beach past sunday phone displayed 3 bars lte on band 12 . Band 4 wasnt available there according to lte discovery i had no dropped calls ,calls were working fine all the way to the pier but data on lte wasnt working at ALL. I Couldnt load fb,twitter, internet i mean completly dead ,Restarted phone but once it would turn back on it would automatically connect to band 12 no band 4 at all at the beach and again no data at all! When i forced my s7 to 3G i got 2 bars hsdpa and it worked for data slow but worked .

    • ltnstar

      I agree. The past 6 months or so, 4g(hspa) has been faster then lte. Been disappointed with band 12. I know some of it is due to congestion and hoping T-Mobile continurs to improve in socal

      • Omar Boyer

        Yep lte has been bad at first i tought it ws my phone S7 but my dad with lg v10 and mom with iphone 6s plus have the same problem on lte when they on hspa its much faster and reliable . This takes me back to when att first released the first iphone how there network crapped out alot same thing been happenin to tmobile ..

        • B-Mobile

          if your on a Samsung phone use *#2263# and disable Band 12 from the LTE Band Preference menu this will force the phone to connect to all other bands except the one(s) you disable

        • ltnstar

          How long have you had T-Mobile? Been over a year now and I’m looking at switching.
          I was excited that band 12 would fix many issues but even voice hasn’t improved much.I’m in the 562 area, it’s not all bad until I go to cerritos, Norwalk or the sgv.

        • Omar Boyer

          6 months had at&t before ,thinking of going back ,believe it or not att lte was much faster and reliable. And was actually usable on att i was rarely or had to use hspa since there lte all over LA actually WORKED and it was fast .

        • ltnstar

          You should look into cricket, they use att but cap speed at 8mbps. I’d switch but I like that I can tether

      • George Salcedo

        LTE has been terrible in Cerritos CA, Norwalk CA, La Mirada CA. Disgraceful coverage.

        • ltnstar

          Do you know what band your phone picks up?
          I’ve been to cerritos and it goes to band 12 now but dropes and then to hspa.
          When I tested lte the speed was fast comparing to Sprint.
          My issues with hspa is it works and then lages for a few seconds.
          I’m in bellflower so my coverage was great but now there’s to much congestion. Sometimes I think I’m even throttled

        • George Salcedo

          My speeds in Bellflower are terrible, T-Mobile claims its my old unlimited grandfathered plan but I don’t buy it one bit. Service is just slow as hell. Band 12 in Cerritos is only good for calls but the data is 1mbps or less.

        • ltnstar

          What do you consider terrible though? Coming from sprint anything over 1mbps is fast. But speeds were 7mbps all the way to 20 and I agree now its gotten bad. Band 12 isn’t what I thought it would be.

        • George Salcedo

          I can’t even get LTE in Bellflower, I have to switch to 4G.

        • Tom

          This is what happens when to many people try to get on one carrier— My Sprint service is 21 Download and 11 upload…… I knew this was going to happen….

        • ltnstar

          Who replies to an old thread?
          Sprint employee or troll?
          If sprint works for you then great.
          I don’t care if they are 100mbps I would never go back to sprint after 11 years. Sprint police’s outweigh what ever “network improvement” they have

        • Justin Miller

          Agreed! Cerritos band 12 is horrible. I called CS and was told that band 12 in this area isn’t as strong as other areas, but I’d like to see an actual prop map for band 12 coverage here.

        • George Salcedo

          My M9 picks up band 12 and all the other tmobile bands. Band 12 is super slow for LTE in Cerritos, Bellflower coverage has been terrible for awhile now. T-Mobile blames it on my old grandfathered unlimited data plan.

        • Menobastian

          So they’re essentially saying it’s your fault that your getting slower speeds? That’s terrible.

        • ltnstar

          I have a Nexus 6 and in cerritos my issue is the signal drops and would go to 4g. Band 12 hasn’t helped.
          In surrounding areas speed are not what they use to be.
          So take it from another customer. It’s not Ur plan.
          Unfortunately it seems it’s congestion in the network.
          T-Mobile is still great but services needs to continue to improve, sprint seems like it has gotten better, but they have ALOT more issuea

        • Justin Miller

          Yes! Throughout LA band 12 can be AWFUL – slow speeds to no movement at all. I’m hoping that CA with the L1900 project fixes this, but this won’t happen for a long time as they need to design and get permitting for L1900.

        • Justin Miller

          Yes, I agree! I work in Cerritos and band 12 can be awful! I work on the 6th floor of a building and on one side band 12 is generally pretty bad, although today it seems to be working better – I can actually stream Youtube with one bar of band 12 LTE.

      • Jason Caprio

        Same boat here. In Bensalem, PA (home) and Trenton, NJ (work), even with 20×20 Band 4 LTE, in many areas, speeds are 1 – 3mbps on LTE and if I force HSPA+, speeds are 4 – 12mbps. It makes no sense why a lesser technology would yield faster speeds. T-Mobile has some serious bandwidth issues they need to address. In their defense, at my home address, my AT&T work phone has same slow speeds on LTE. Maybe the tower’s backhaul is overloaded. Who knows….

        • ParisWilponCOO

          From NJ to DC Tmo is VERY spotty. Not just in boonies- 95, PA Tpk, major towns… If you can’t afford to be out of range or to drop calls, you have no choice but paying double for VerSatan. I keep waiting for that to change- less bad music, Kardashians and pizza, more towers please!

        • nycplayboy78

          LAWD!!! Not VerSatan…LOL…Yeah I live in the DC Metro and traveling from DC to NYC can be painful on T-Mo but I suffer through it and don’t go off of 95 when I travel home….

  • StevenM

    Can Houston get ANY carrier aggregation? Some parts of town have 20×20 B4, 5×5 B12, and 5×5 B2. Instead, our devices are relegated to just piecemealing the network one band at a time.

    • Guest

      I bet many of them are busy trying to fix the T-Mobile Tuesdays app and the mess they created with it, and another Tuesday is coming… busy, busy, busy.

      Although the free fat-free organic pizza is very good, they say. Mmm… healthy.

  • Jay Holm

    Dallas?!?!? But I live in Houston dang it! And shouldn’t tri-band carrier aggregation yield higher speeds than 60mbps? Not saying that is a bad speed, just thought it would be a little higher.

    • Jaden Keuten

      Look at the RSRP and SNR. Those speeds are crazy.

  • Walt

    How do you check for carrier aggregation on an iphone?

    • Android_God

      Ask Siri.

  • nycplayboy78

    Is the Nexus 6P capable of such a feat?

  • SirStephenH

    -Go for 600Mhz nationwide and dedicate it to 5g.
    -Shut down 2g (EDGE) and 3g (UMTS and HSPA+) and refarm the spectrum to LTE and 5g.

    • Guest

      ^ Someone gets it. The only problem that has is that all the old and poor people will have to upgrade from their flip phones to a smartphone. So offer a cheap band 12 device to compensate. Also people using M2M on the edge network would have to upgrade that device too.

    • carl

      Unless they buy at least 20×20 of 600Mhz, 5G on the lower bands first will be awful. Slow and congested.

  • Menobastian

    Here in the Santa Clarita Valley it was really great speeds but ever since band 12 appeared my phone just wants to connect to it like it’s nobodies business. At times I too have to turn off lte just so “4G” hspa can make things a bit better. Other than that been very impressed and satisfied with t-mobile.

  • J.v

    I was there this past weekend, and had no such luck, lots of Band 4/12 Aggregation. Never even saw band 2

  • Anonymouse

    I was on the same spot earlier where OP “discovered” 3 CA. (PGBT and Preston Rd) No luck. My S7 edge can’t even lock into dual carrier and I have data on the background (streaming Spotify). It always says “CA: Not Config”. I’m starting to believe S7 edge needs an update to enable CA.