T-Mobile CTO: We’re focused on 3.5 GHz—not on 2.5 GHz

T-Mobile CTO - Connected Real Estate Magazine
Neville Ray, CTO of T-Mobile US, inc. (Jeff Bottari / AP Images for T-Mobile)

Neville Ray, chief technology officer at T-Mobile, said on Saturday, July 19 during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call that the carrier is “extremely interested” in 3.5 GHz.

When asked about 2.5 GHz spectrum, Ray said that the company’s interest lies with 3.5 GHz and that the self-proclaimed un-carrier “doesn’t think about 2.5 that much.” Any frequency is good, said company executives, but T-Mobile is focusing on utilizing mid-range frequency.

This statement comes as no surprise. T-Mobile wants a 5G network as soon as possible—and is particularly interested in issuing it on different frequencies. The tier 1 carrier has made it clear that they have intentions to use the 3.5 GHz frequency with its 5G network.

T-Mobile plans to deliver 5G services using low-band 600 MHz, since the un-carrier spend $8 billion to purchase an abundant amount of this frequency at the FCC spectrum auction in April.  According to a press release from May, T-Mobile will use multiple frequencies for 5G. “There’s no such thing as ‘5G spectrum’ and in the next decade we’ll see everything moving to 5G,” said Ray in the May press release. “Nationwide Mobile 5G will require both high-band AND broad low-band coverage, and having unused nationwide 600 MHz spectrum means T-Mobile is in an ideal position to deliver.”

The un-carrier has also requested that the FCC change the rules for 3.5 GHz in order to make way for 5G. T-Mobile, along with CTIA, both petitioned the FCC to make to make alterations to the current 3.5 GHz rules to make this frequency licensed. The FCC is considering the adjustments and will discuss the idea at its meeting on Thursday, August 3.

Not all telecom companies agree with T-Mobile. The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is the one of the most recent entities to publically denounce any rule changes. In early June, 17 entities, including Google, Microsoft and American Tower, signed a letter to the FCC asking it to disregard any requests for rule changes.

T-Mobile laid out its reasoning in a filing to the FCC and made suggestions, such as extending the terms of the Priority Access Network (PAL) licenses to ten years “with the expectation of renewal” instead of three years with no chance of renewal.

T-Mobile aims to get the 3.5 GHz rolling by 2019 so that by 2020 the entire nation is covered.

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