4G has been approaching 2 Gbps for several years, combining signals from 5 spectrum bands, typically 20 Mbps each. Most networks stuck with 3 or 4 channels because since ~2014, most telcos have had more bandwidth than they could sell. Most phones couldn't handle 5 channels until recently. The technology worked but was rarely put into production.
4 or 5 channel 4G was faster than most 5G, which added little or nothing to throughput. The recent speeds of hundreds of megabits have nothing to do with 5G. The large volume of mid-band spectrum delivers high speeds in either 4G or 5G.
Because 5G carrier aggregation wasn't working well, 5G speeds have been much lower than expected based on the available spectrum.
T-Mobile has now combined (aggregated) three bands for 5G. It combined two channels of 2.5 GHz Ultra Capacity 5G and one channel of 1900 MHz spectrum. Total bandwidth was 210 MHz, apparently 10 Mhz at 1900 MHz and 100 MHz each at 2.5 GHz Sascha Segan writes
T-Mobile has a path to keep increasing its capacity without having to buy any new spectrum, just by using better modems and shifting its existing resources around.
That's strategically important because top Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett has been skeptical about TMO's ability to support many fixed wireless customers. Craig is good; when we disagree, I always double-check my work. On TMO's capacity for FWA, I believe Neville Ray has plenty of options, as this confirms.
I would guess that 210 MHz would support 4 Gbps, more than the 3 Gbps TMO reports in the press release below. But there's no data from other companies.
Here's the pr
T-Mobile Tops 3 Gbps with World's First Standalone 5G Carrier Aggregation Achievement
T-Mobile pulled off the feat with help from Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
BELLEVUE, Wash., June 14, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Un-carrier feels the need. The need for speed. T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) announced today it was able to aggregate three channels of mid-band 5G spectrum, reaching speeds over 3 Gbps on its standalone 5G network. It’s the first time the test has ever been done with a commercial device (Samsung Galaxy S22 powered by Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform with Snapdragon X65 Modem-RF System) on a live production network.
"This test demonstrates the incredible power of mid-band spectrum and represents another huge step forward for standalone 5G," said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. "Only T-Mobile is delivering a nationwide standalone 5G network to customers today, and we’re blazing a trail with new performance-boosting capabilities that generate incredible speeds and deliver on our vision to create the highest capacity network in the country."
Simply stated, 5G Carrier Aggregation (NR CA) allows T-Mobile to combine multiple 5G channels (or carriers) to deliver greater speed and performance. In this test, the Un-carrier merged three 5G channels – two channels of 2.5 GHz Ultra Capacity 5G and one channel of 1900 MHz spectrum – creating an effective 210 MHz 5G channel. That’s all mid-band spectrum, by the way. And over 3 Gbps of speed!
Today’s achievement is only possible with standalone 5G architecture (SA) and is just the latest in a series of important SA 5G milestones for T-Mobile. The Un-carrier was the first in the world to launch a nationwide SA 5G network nearly two years ago and has been driving toward a true 5G-only experience for customers ever since. Just this month the Un-carrier began lighting up Voice over 5G (VoNR) so ALL services can run on 5G. By removing the need for an underlying 4G LTE network and 4G core, 5G will be able to reach its true future potential with incredibly fast speeds, real-time responsiveness and massive connectivity.
NR CA is live in parts of T-Mobile’s network today, combining two 2.5 GHz 5G channels for greater speeds, performance and capacity. Customers with the Samsung Galaxy S22 will be among the first to experience a third 1900 MHz 5G channel later this year. This capability will expand across the Un-carrier’s network and to additional devices in the near future.
T-Mobile is the leader in 5G with the country’s largest and fastest 5G network. The Un-carrier’s Extended Range 5G covers nearly everyone in the country – 315 million people across 1.8 million square miles. 225 million people nationwide are covered with super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G, and T-Mobile expects to cover 260 million in 2022 and 300 million next year.