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T-Mobile Ramps Up 5G RAN With Ericsson, Nokia Deals

January 15, 2021

T-Mobile inked five-year, multi-billion-dollar agreements with both Ericsson and Nokia to continue advancing and expanding the nation’s largest 5G network. Part of the network investment following last year’s merger with Sprint, these deals enable T-Mobile to add even more 5G coverage, capacity, speed and advanced technical capabilities across all of its spectrum bands.

“T-Mobile already has the largest 5G network in the country,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile President of Technology. “These agreements with our longstanding 5G partners Nokia and Ericsson will help us take our 5G leadership even further, delivering ever-better experiences for our customers for years to come.”

Building on two decades of partnership, the Un-carrier will work with Ericsson and Nokia to expand its nationwide 5G network for better 5G coverage and future game-changing experiences, and advanced network capabilities like 5G carrier aggregation. T-Mobile launched the world’s first nationwide standalone 5G network last summer, and recently pulled off the world’s first 5G standalone (SA) data session with New Radio Carrier Aggregation (NR CA). T-Mobile is the first and only U.S. provider to combine the power of Extended Range and Ultra Capacity 5G, boosting speed and performance. T-Mobile also plans to add advanced technical capabilities like voice over 5G (VoNR), network slicing, and multi-user massive MIMO to its 5G network.

T-Mobile is already America’s 5G leader with the most advanced 5G network and fast 5G speeds in more places than any other wireless provider. T-Mobile’s Extended Range 5G now covers 280 million people across nearly 1.6 million square miles — that’s more than 2.5x the geographic coverage of AT&T and nearly 4x more than Verizon! And with Sprint now part of T-Mobile, the Un-carrier is widening its lead, lighting up Ultra Capacity 5G across the country and bringing fast 5G speeds to more places than anyone else. Ultra Capacity 5G can deliver average speeds of 300 Mbps with peaks approaching 1 Gbps and is now available in more than 1,000 cities and towns, covering more than 106 million people! That’s 50x more than Verizon covers with Ultra-Wideband! And at T-Mobile, 5G access is included at no extra charge in all smartphone plans.

T-Mobile will utilize Nokia’s AirScale Radio platform to deploy an Ultra Capacity 5G layer with 2.5GHz Massive MIMO technology, shifting the Un-carrier customer experience into overdrive. Under the new agreement, Nokia will continue to expand T-Mobile’s extended range (low-band) 5G coverage. Both the extended range and Ultra Capacity enhancements will augment user experience and network capacity by leveraging T-Mobile’s multi-layer spectrum strategy.

To support the Un-carrier’s supercharged 5G network, Nokia will supply its market-leading AirScale radio access solutions – including macro and small cells across low, mid-band and mmWave spectrum. Massive MIMO, a key 5G technology, will allow T-Mobile’s 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum to be utilized to its full potential. Massive MIMO will boost network performance to its customers in the form of higher speeds and lower latency, further assisting T-Mobile’s home internet strategy. All of these enhanced user experiences are built upon T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G standalone network. As part of the deal, Nokia will also enable T-Mobile to upgrade its mid-band LTE network to 5G and continue to expand their extended range (low-band) 5G network.

Neville Ray, President of Technology, T-Mobile, said: “From the moment Sprint became part of T-Mobile, we’ve been rapidly combining networks for a supercharged Un-carrier experience while continuing to aggressively expand our nationwide 5G footprint. We have already taken a massive step forward with nationwide standalone 5G earlier this year, and this agreement with Nokia will help us to deliver incredible innovation and opportunity in this country.”

Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia, commented: “Nokia has a long-standing and collaborative partnership with T-Mobile and our industry-leading 5G RAN solutions will underpin the new T-Mobile network. The expanded and upgraded 5G network that leverages all spectrum bands will deliver exciting new solutions to even more people and businesses, and our technology will play a fundamental role in delivering these compelling connectivity experiences for work and play.”

Per the agreement, Ericsson will expand and enhance T-Mobile’s 5G footprint by supplying equipment, software, and related services from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio.

This includes active and passive antennas, providing T-Mobile with support across its entire spectrum portfolio for the best 5G experience and cost-efficiency – low-band for far and wide coverage indoors and outside, complemented by Massive MIMO capacity over mid-bands and high-bands for blazing fast speeds and lowest latencies, providing an expanded foundation for a rapid 5G use-case evolution.

Ericsson technology will help T-Mobile develop and implement 5G use cases and improve 5G spectral efficiency. T-Mobile’s 5G buildout also includes 5G Standalone (SA) architecture, voice over new radio (VoNR), New Radio (NR) carrier aggregation, network slicing, and multi-user massive MIMO.

Neville Ray, T-Mobile President of Technology, says: “This agreement takes our twenty-year relationship with Ericsson to build, expand and enhance the T-Mobile network even further into the 5G era, enabling us to bring more 5G coverage, speed and capacity to more people across the country.“

Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, says: “We are proud to expand our partnership with T-Mobile, further accelerating the 5G evolution in the U.S. Ericsson’s industry-leading radio access network portfolio enables T-Mobile to enhance its 5G network as they build out the critical mid-band spectrum.”

Seckin Arikan, Head of Customer Unit T-Mobile, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson and T-Mobile have worked closely together for several years to bring 5G to customers across the U.S. We’re excited to embark on the next phase of the 5G journey.”

The November 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report estimates that North America was expected to end 2020 with about four percent of its mobile subscriptions being 5G. Commercialization is now moving at a rapid pace and by 2026, Ericsson forecasts that 80 percent of North American mobile subscriptions will be 5G, the highest level of any region in the world.

T-Mobile and Ericsson have been working together to design, build and expand the T-Mobile 5G nationwide network since early 2018.

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