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T-Mobile gets 5G boost thanks to Sprint’s mid-band spectrum

It might only be a baby step when you consider the daunting task of integrating two multi-billion-dollar corporations, but T-Mobile has opened its network up to Sprint customers.

Across the US, Sprint customers will be able to benefit from the expansive T-Mobile 4G network, while the 5G proposition has been bolstered thanks to the incorporation of mid-band spectrum.

“Connectivity is more important than ever today, and the challenging time we’re all facing shows just how critical 5G for All is,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile President of Technology.

“While our amazing team safely works to keep people across the country connected to work, school and family, we aren’t slowing down on building out the broad and deep network that only this combined company can deliver. We won’t stop because this network can do so much good across the country.”

T-Mobile has never been shy about patting itself on the back, though it has been very successful over the last decade. One area which did look to be a weakness was the 5G offering, as its plethora of 600 MHz spectrum was never going to live up to the promise, despite being able to offer the 5G symbol on devices in a larger coverage area. One of the advantages of the Sprint merger was access to valuable spectrum.

Much has been made of the importance of mmWave spectrum, licences which made use of the higher-frequency airwaves, though the reality of experience is very different. Those using the high-band to power 5G offerings were disappointing customers with incredibly patchy coverage thanks to shorter ranges, but Sprint had access to valuable mid-band spectrum.

With 2.5 GHz frequencies available, a more palatable compromise between higher download speeds and increased coverage can be realised. These are the frequencies which have been powering 5G launches in Europe and Asia, though thanks to legacy allocations for radar systems in the US Navy, US telcos have not been able to access the 3.5-3.7 GHz frequencies, know as the innovation band.

Thanks to the merger of the two companies, T-Mobile now has access to these valuable assets and have launched services over these airwaves in parts of Philadelphia, with New York next on the deployment roadmap. 5G is still of course in the embryonic days of development, but access to mid-band spectrum ahead of its rivals give T-Mobile a significant advantage.

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