T-Mobile, Nokia, and Intel team up to bring 5G commercial radio system online


Along with the 4G LTE news announced by T-Mobile earlier today, there’s some 5G news to share.

Nokia today announced that it teamed up with T-Mobile and Intel to bring a 28GHz 5G commercial radio system on air. The system was activated in the downtown corridor of Bellevue, Wash., the city where T-Mobile’s headquarters are located.

Of course, once the site is online, they might as well do something with it, right? That’s exactly what the companies did, conducting a data session using the Nokia 5G commercial AirScale solution and the 5G Mobile Trial Platform (MTP) from Intel.

Here’s what Neville Ray, CTO of T-Mobile, said about today’s news:

“We’re laser focused on building a nationwide 5G network for mobility, one that uses multiple spectrum bands, and launching field trials for mmWave spectrum is an important step forward.”

And here’s Roy Corker, Nokia’s head of North America:

“The path to 5G is paved with tremendous endeavor and innovative milestones such as our achievement with T-Mobile in Bellevue. T-Mobile takes great technological strides in its network evolution and Nokia is proud be a key partner on this journey.”

This whole test is notable for several reasons. Not only did it enable T-Mo to deploy its first inter-vendor 5G network, it helps to move 5G development from labs into the field. It also helps Nokia and T-Mobile to better understand how millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G can be integrated into existing networks and how it acts around LTE.

T-Mobile has said that it plans to begin rolling out 5G coverage in 2019 and that it’s aiming to have nationwide 5G coverage in 2020.

Source: Nokia

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  • Sharti24

    Time to kill 2G/3G. Common, we’re talking about 5G and there’s still 2G Edge out there.

    • Sharti24

      Someone should tweet neville and ask. Tmobile likes to use twitter and facebook instead of email or i would ask

      • slybacon

        The last two trouble spots i found in 2017, I informed John and team via email and my emails were responded to within a couple of days, then problems fixed a month or so later.

    • Jason Caprio

      Wanna know the saddest part, their End of 2017 Projection coverage map is still up, and it shows more coverage than their current coverage map today in 2018 in many small spots. LOL LOL LOLOLOL

      • Sharti24

        That makes no sense. Tmobile stated they cover 322 million pops, the same as Verizon lol

        • Jason Caprio

          Pops doesn’t mean anything. It references populations of major cities and towns. Does not include remote areas, etc. I’m watching T-Mobile though and they are seriously catching up to Verizon and AT&T lol

        • Sharti24

          Yeah, that Wont happen till 2020 at the bare minimum.

        • slybacon

          There aren’t too many places you can set up antennas on a tower where people visit but do not live. Low band spectrum has a radius of miles, that’s an area of many square miles.

        • Sharti24

          How many miles does band 4 travel vs. band 12?

        • slybacon

          I just read an estimate of 700 MHz from one tower covering 20 square miles (3.2 mile radius) in wide-open country. Buildings and mountains will obviously reduce that. T-Mobile says 700 MHz travels twice as far as 1900/2100 MHz.

        • Sharti24

          Wow. 3 miles is nothing in rural areas. Wikipedia states…

          “The maximum range of a mast (where it is not limited by interference with other masts nearby) depends on the same circumstances. Some technologies, such as GSM, normally have a fixed maximum range of 35 kilometres (22 mi), which is imposed by technical limitations. CDMA and IDEN have no built-in limit, but the limiting factor is the ability of a low-powered personal cell phone to transmit back to the mast. As a rough guide, based on a tall mast and flat terrain, it is possible to get between 50 and 70 km (30–45 miles). When the terrain is hilly, the maximum distance can vary from as little as 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) due to encroachment of intermediate objects into the wide center fresnel zone of the signal.[5] Depending on terrain and other circumstances, a GSM Tower can replace between 2 and 50 miles (80 km) of cabling for fixed wireless networks.”

      • slybacon

        How is that sad? I’m glad they are more focused on their network than a colored map.
        Also, the coverage map does not include the 600 mhz like the “projection” map does. To turn on 600 mhz on the coverage map, you have to select it from the “Legend” drop down menu. 600 covers some 586 cities and towns now. Again, the 600 map hasn’t been updated for a while now, either.

        • Clifton K. Morris

          Marketing a “brand story” or a “perception of coverage” is different than building actual, real-life coverage.

          All things being equal, T-Mobile could have negotiated a roaming agreement with Verizon and accomplished the same map shown in the ads.

        • slybacon

          All things are equal?? Then T-Mobile would have had to charge Verizon rates. Instead, they brought Verizon’s prices down through healthy competition. Be grateful!

          Also, how do you prove Verizon’s perception of coverage is true and T-Mobile’s isn’t? My experience in the Intermountain West is that T-Mobile has LTE where it says it has it, and in some places, LTE where Verizon and AT&T didn’t.

    • vrm

      They have an entirely different use case. 5G cannot compete with 2G/3G in low power devices – it is to replace conventional radio (and make it interactive unlike broadcast radio).

  • Mike McDonald

    Anyone notice who was missing in this partnership? The big kahuna….Qualcomm. Hmmmmm…..

    • John Doe

      T-Mobile is working with Qualcomm on unlicenced spectrum. Qualcomm produces chips not radios/antennas for coverage…that is Nokia, Intel, Cisco, Ericcson, etc.

    • Clifton K. Morris

      Intel and the company it acquired (Infineon) has experienced a lot of terrible PR related to speeds being slower than Qualcomm; and needing to throttle speeds to be relevant as a modem.

      I also have a second theory– Perhaps Intel wants to bring its depth and experience related to WiMax to the masses…

      • Jay Holm

        Isn’t WiMax dead?

  • Sharti24

    If 700mhz band 12 is currently deployed on a cell tower do they need to install new hardware/antennas or can they use the current antennas that are already on the tower?

    • Sharti24

      Brand new tmobile tower installed last month. 44281


      • Sharti24

        That tower is confirmed to have 3G hspa. Max speed on speedtest was 14mpbs. So i assume 5×5 1900mhz

    • Sean sorlie

      Nope. 5G is a whole new Tech, not just a speed boost. They can use existing towers but new equipment will need to be added. Good time to be in the tower maintanance business…

      • Clifton K. Morris

        It seems like T-Mobile is waiting for a new 3GPP/GSM release.

        In 2006 timeframe, T-Mobile’s Nevile Ray, while Chairman of 3G Americas, certified GPP Release 8 (HSPA). AT&T chose higher-quality Ericsson equipment which is available en-masse. It wasn’t very long afterwards; perhaps as little as 6 months later, that 3GPP, and the Governing Body, had developed 3GPP Release 9; which was marketed as “LTE” services.

        As a result of that error, Verizon learned to wait until standards settle; even though Nokia lacks manufacturing capability and to deploy an order from a company as large as Verizon.

        What’s most likely slowing things down is that Nokia needs to determine if it’s successful in developing home-grown technology or if it needs to license patents from Samsung or Ericsson. Nokia generally does everything on the cheap and will cut corners where it’s able. (Research Nokia’s tax problems in India where it tried to bribe India Tax Authorities; instead of accepting a bribe, India’s Government seized the factory.)

        Another reason we’re waiting on a 3GPP standard is because T-Mobile made errors dating back to the 1990s. As an example, network equipment in New York is from a different manufacturer than hardware located in Los Angeles. To this day, T-Mobile still lacks a heterogenious network strategy and relies on multiple vendors equipment. T-Mobile can’t launch any new services until multiple manufacturers hardware make it through the lab and have all royalties paid.

      • Sharti24

        Umm….i wasnt talking about 5G at all. I was asking about 600mhz which is just a frequency.