U.S. launches first National 5G Network
No coverage, no matter how fast 5G is.
"Thanks to Nokia, thanks to Ericsson, thanks to Qualcomm, thanks to Samsung, thanks to OnePlus, the first nationwide 5G network in the United States has finally opened!" T-Mobile's CTO said on Twitter.
On December 2, 2019, the official website of the US operator T-Mobile announced that the first nationwide 5G network in the United States was officially opened, covering a population of over 200 million and a coverage area of over 1 million square miles, marking a new step for T-Mobile. A crucial step for the times.
The first 600MHz low-band 5G network
The reason why T-Mobile dared to claim a "national" 5G network is because they used a 600MHz low-frequency band to deploy 5G networks.
As we all know, the lower the wireless frequency band, the larger the coverage area of the base station. The coverage of a single station at 600MHz is much larger than the current mainstream 3.5GHz 5G mid-band. And compared with the other two US carriers Verizon and AT & T's millimeter-wave 5G, the single-site coverage of the two is far different.
Thanks to the 600MHz low-frequency advantage, T-Mobile can quickly build a wide coverage 5G network with minimal base station investment.
To this end, T-Mobile listed the four major advantages of its 600MHz 5G network, and ridiculed two other US carriers, Verizon and AT & T:
• Wide coverage. The point is that T-Mobile's 5G network can cover most of the rural areas of the United States, while Verizon and AT & T have concentrated their efforts on building the network with the highest return on investment, regardless of the Internet access needs of the vast rural areas.
• Large population coverage. T-Mobile's 5G network covers 200 million people and more than 5,000 cities and towns. While Verizon's 5G only covers some outdoor areas in 18 cities, AT & T's 5G only covers corporate users in 21 cities. As for the number of 5G coverage, Verizon and AT & T are unwilling to disclose, it is estimated that the actual number is embarrassing.
• Can cover indoors. The 600MHz band has strong wall-penetrating ability, and signals can reach indoors from outdoors. And Verizon's 28GHz 5G network band is too high to pass through the wall at all.
• Cheap rates. Verizon and AT & T's 5G network construction costs are high, and the charges are more expensive than 4G. T-Mobile's 600MHz 5G network has low network construction costs and cheaper tariffs.
But the problem is that 600MHz is not the global 5G mainstream frequency band and does not have the advantage of ecological scale. At the same time, as the first 600MHz 5G network, there are still many new challenges in the deployment process, such as the need for new hardware and software support, and the antenna size is also large. Many, this requires the full support of equipment vendors and terminal manufacturers to successfully commercialize.
Therefore, the CTO of T-Mobile especially thanked Qualcomm, Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia and Ericsson. Qualcomm provided 5G chips supporting 600MHz, Samsung and OnePlus launched 5G phones supporting 600MHz, and Nokia and Ericsson provided network equipment. .
T-Mobile currently launches two 5G phones supporting 600MHz: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, priced at $ 1299.99, and OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren, priced at $ 899.99. Both are flagship Android phones. Reservations are currently accepted and the official sale date is December 6.
Coverage is good
But the rate is only 2 times faster than 4G
Although T-Mobile blown up the coverage of 600MHz 5G in the announcement, it did not mention how fast the network speed is, because this is a pain point.
Today, the mainstream 5G frequency bandwidth around the world is about 100MHz, and the peak rate can exceed Gigabit. For example, South Korea's SKT and KT's 5G mid-band bandwidth is 100MHz, LG U + is 80MHz, China Mobile is 160MHz, China Telecom and China Unicom are 100MHz, and the Verizon millimeter wave band in the United States has a bandwidth of over 200MHz.
But T-Mobile's 600MHz band has a bandwidth of only 30MHz. Considering that its 5G network uses the NSA networking mode, 4G LTE has to occupy some frequency bands, and the estimated peak rate is only 200-300Mbps.
According to the calculation, according to the 5G NR band allocation, the duplex mode used by the 600MHz NR band is FDD, which is different from the uplink and downlink of TDD occupying the same frequency band in different time slots. Among T-Mobile's only 30MHz bandwidth, 5G NR uplink accounts for 10MHz, 5G NR downlink accounts for 10MHz, 4G LTE uplink accounts for 5MHz, and 4G LTE downlink accounts for 5MHz. Such a little bandwidth is really too little.
Previously, the CTO of T-Mobile had stated that the current average speed of T-Mobile's 4G is 30-35Mbps. After the introduction of 600MHz 5G, it is expected that the average speed of the network will be doubled to 60-70Mbps.
Obviously, this 5G is 10 times faster than 4G in our impression, but the 5G of the movie in seconds is different.
However, this is only the first step for T-Mobile on the road to 5G.
This is just the first step
T-Mobile's 5G deployment strategy is probably: first to do 5G coverage, the network speed is lower, it does not matter, the focus is to quickly establish brand advantages and quickly grab users, and then, as 5G applications continue to flourish, thick network capacity.
How to make thick capacity next?
First, T-Mobile merged with another major US operator Sprint to form a new T-Mobile. Now T-Mobile is building a 5G network with a 600MHz low-frequency band. At the same time, Sprint is also building a 5G network with a 2.5GHz mid-band. Sprint's 2.5GHz band has a bandwidth of about 40-60MHz.
After the merger of the two operators, Sprint's 2.5GHz mid-band 5G can be added to T-Mobile's 600MHz low-band 5G. In this way, the total bandwidth is close to 100MHz, which also complements the capacity short board.
In fact, the new T-Mobile's 5G deployment strategy is to use low-, medium-, and high-frequency three-layer networking, with 600MHz as the overlay layer, 2.5GHz as the capacity layer, and millimeter wave as the high-capacity layer (hotspot). Coverage can also make thick network capacity, so as to build a 5G network with wide coverage and large capacity.
Although 5G in the United States runs fast, Verizon announced the official commercialization of 5G as early as April this year, but the biggest pain point is coverage. The 5G route in the United States is millimeter wave first, but the coverage distance of a single base station for millimeter waves is only 200 meters, and The inability to reach indoors has led to 5G coverage in the United States, which is difficult to form large-scale coverage for continuous networking.
Today, T-Mobile officially released the first 5G national network based on the 600MHz low-frequency band, which can be said to be of great significance to the development of 5G in the United States. As John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, said, this means that the United States has taken a big step towards universal 5G.