T-Mobile Tops 3.3 Gbps Speeds on Its 5G Standalone Network

T-Mobile 5G
(Image credit: T-Mobile)

BARCELONA, Spain—In what T-Mobile is calling a world-first at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the carrier has announced the successful completion of a four-carrier aggregation data call on its 5G Standalone Network with a commercial device. The test combined four channels of mid-band spectrum to hit peak speeds topping 3.3 Gbps.

The successful tests and the deployment of these technologies more widely in the future is an important development for media companies seeking to deliver live news, sports and other content over 5G networks. 

They also have important implications for the rollout of NextGen TV broadcasts. Ultimately, the rollout of 5G broadcasting services built on these infrastructures could radically change the media landscape, providing both competition and potential partners for broadcasters looking to rollout datacasting services using ATSC 3.0.

In this test, T-Mobile aggregated four channels of mid-band spectrum on its 5G standalone (5G SA) network using the Samsung Galaxy S23 device, working with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Samsung. 

Carriers see 5G SA as the future of wireless, delivering a whole new level of performance – faster speeds and lower latency (improved response times). 

In a keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, T-Mobile’s president of Technology Neville Ray explained T-Mobile’s plans to take its nationwide 5G SA network — the only in the U.S. — to the next level. 

In addition to discussing the four-carrier aggregation data call, Ray also announced that the carrier had deployed VoNR service in four additional cities and plans to cover 100 million people with VoNR in the coming months.

“We are working with industry leaders around the globe to move the 5G ecosystem forward for the benefit of wireless customers everywhere,” said Ray. “With the most advanced 5G network in the world, T-Mobile is at the forefront of wireless innovation, spearheading new capabilities so we can continue raising the performance bar and enable future transformative applications that require a seamless and robust 5G connection.”

5G carrier aggregation allows T-Mobile to combine multiple 5G channels (or carriers) to deliver greater speed and performance. In this test, the T-Mobile merged four 5G channels of mid-band spectrum – two channels of 2.5 GHz Ultra Capacity 5G and two channels of 1900 MHz spectrum – creating an effective 225 MHz 5G channel. 

That’s like taking four separate highways and turning them into a massive superhighway where traffic can zoom faster than before, the company said. 

Customers with the Samsung Galaxy S23 will be among the first to experience four-carrier aggregation later this year with more devices to follow, T-Mobile said. 

With VoNR, T-Mobile is moving voice traffic to 5G so customers stay consistently connected to 5G. In the near-term, customers connected to VoNR may notice slightly faster call set-up times, meaning less delay between the time they dial a number and when the phone starts ringing. 

Most importantly, VoNR brings T-Mobile one step closer to additional improvements to its 5G SA network because VoNR enables advanced capabilities like network slicing that rely on a continuous connection to a 5G core. 

Today VoNR is now live in six cities – Cincinnati, New Orleans, New York, Portland Ore., Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the next few months, T-Mobile said it will expand this technology to additional cities covering more than 100 million people in the coming months.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.