T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) announced today the company completed the first-ever 5G standalone (SA) New Radio Carrier Aggregation (NR CA) data call on a commercial device, LG VELVET 5G. Yes, it’s a big mouthful, but it’s an even bigger deal. With NR CA, the Un-carrier can combine the power of its different 5G spectrum bands – starting with 2.5 GHz mid-band and 600 MHz low-band – boosting speeds overall AND increasing the footprint of T-Mobile’s unique mid-band 5G. It’s also a key step in expanding T-Mobile’s nationwide standalone architecture (SA) 5G network — which is the first in the world — by increasing SA 5G capacity and speeds.
“When it comes to our network and what we deliver to customers, we never rest on our laurels,” said Abdul Saad, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. “We have the first and largest nationwide 5G network, covering over 250 million people across 1.3 million square miles, and we’ll never stop working with industry leaders to develop and refine new technologies like this so we can deliver #5GforAll.”
2.5 GHz + 600 MHz = Crazy Fast + Crazy Far
5G speed and performance are directly impacted by wireless spectrum and the amount you’re using at any given time. Today T-Mobile customers can access three different types of 5G spectrum — low, mid and high-band (aka millimeter wave) — but they can only unleash capacity from one of those 5G layers at a time. With NR CA that changes, giving devices the ability to combine the capacity of the different layers. Initially, NR CA combines 2.5 GHz and 600 MHz — unleashing the full capability of the Un-carrier’s sub-6 GHz spectrum simultaneously — which in tests boosted download speeds on 2.5 GHz 5G by 20 percent on average, and it will continue to get better over time.
NR CA also increases T-Mobile’s 2.5 GHz 5G footprint. By combining a mid-band downlink with a low-band uplink, the 2.5 GHz 5G signal will travel as far as the base station allows without being limited by the mid-band uplink. Instead, the uplink will travel back to the tower on low-band 5G, which travels farther. That means customers tapping into NR CA will experience faster 5G downloads over 2.5 GHz (which are 7.5x faster than LTE today on average) in more places!
Several companies from around the world joined the Un-carrier to pull this off. The test was completed on T-Mobile’s exclusive version of LG VELVET 5G, which is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1000C 5G chipset. Ericsson provided state of the art 5G radio network hardware and software.
“We are delighted to see the full capabilities of LG VELVET 5G experienced with T-Mobile’s 5G standalone New Radio Carrier Aggregation,” said Chris Yie, head of LG Mobile, North America. “LG VELVET 5G is the perfect device to demonstrate this momentous milestone in the rollout of 5G in the U.S. It boasts a stylish and sleek design with lightening-fast speeds and robust performance — all at a reasonable price.”
“The deployment of 5G NR CA promises to bring ultra-fast 5G experiences to even more consumers with its improved coverage and capacity,” said Yenchi Lee, Deputy GM of Wireless Communications at MediaTek. “This achievement of testing the first 5G NR CA data call on the LG VELVET, powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000C, represents another key milestone in our vision to make 5G accessible to everyone.”