Recently in the United States there is a rather interesting verbal scramble between mobile operators. Everything is about the fashionable lately 5G, which is not really there yet. There is even a verbal abuse and misrepresentation that involves the use of a 5G term when it comes to LTE-Advanced. However, T-Mobile boss John Legere is quite sensitive to biting facts and does not dress up in words. By the way, this is probably the most charismatic CEO of the telecommunication industry.

Not so long ago there was the auction in the United States of the frequency of the 600 MHz band. T-Mobile was very dependent on these resources because the low frequency base stations have far greater ranges and the radio signals are less attenuated by the walls of buildings. T-Mobile bought 3 pairs of 5 MHz blocks from the 600 MHz band for almost $8 billion. This is as much as 45% of the band that was put up for auction. Interestingly, the competitive Verizon network has commented on T-Mobile’s success in a rather interesting way. They simply stated that their network does not need the 600 MHz band because they are focused on the development of 5G in 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands.

T-Mobile promises to launch 5G also in the 600 MHz band.

This is a very daring promise, as no one of the mobile chipset vendors has yet announced a 5G modem that supports such low frequencies. John Legere also drew attention to another fact. Its competitors recently offered their customers unlimited mobile Internet on their phones. Of course, this has resulted in a decrease in average data speeds. According to T-Mobile, networks of their competitors are overloaded and unable to provide this type of service on a large scale. But that’s not all. Recently, the Samsung Galaxy S8 was released and AT&T marketers have called their network as 5G Evolution. This is all thanks to a doubled download speed resulted from the use of MIMO 4×4. However, this is still LTE-Advanced, which can not be confused with 5G. John Legere commented entire marketing rivalry quite emphatically.

What bands will be used by the new 5G networks?

The answer is pretty simple: all of them. That’s right, 5G just as LTE will be so versatile that it will be possible to use new technology at any frequency band. That is why T-Mobile plans to use some resources from the 600 MHz band just for the 5G network. However, it will happen when the 5G standard will be ready and the proper devices will appear. The idea is good because the 5G base stations working at the 28 GHz millimeter band will be extremely short-range. On the other hand, the use of the 600 MHz band will allow for the construction of the nationwide 5G network. It will be several more years before this happens, but it is good to know that operators are thinking ahead. Mobile carriers will definitely spend some of their own 4G LTE frequencies on the new 5G networks. Such gradual migration is sensible. Operators have done so in the past when they built the LTE network. They were just starting to use the bandwidth used by 3G before they bought licenses for new frequencies.

LTE bands
The bands currently used by 4G LTE networks (source: Qualcomm).

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