T-Mobile is combining more 5G bands for ridiculously fast network speeds


T-Mobile is getting creative. | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

T-Mobile is certainly not afraid to tout its own 5G achievements, and, true to form, it’s announcing another milestone today: by combining three channels of mid-band spectrum on its 5G network, the company achieved 3Gbps network speeds. This seems to be more than a stunt, too. T-Mobile says this technology will become available to customers on its network “later this year.”

Those 3Gbps (or 3,000Mbps) speeds are approaching mmWave territory — that’s the high-band, limited range kind of 5G that lets you download a movie in seconds. Mid-band 5G typically reaches around 200Mbps, which is considered very good compared to LTE. But T-Mobile is doing a little tinkering behind the scenes to boost those speeds significantly.

This most recent test ups speeds with an additional third channel

More specifically, it’s using carrier aggregation to combine different swaths of spectrum. Don’t let the word “carrier” confuse you, either; this is T-Mobile using its own spectrum. The company already uses this technology to combine two 2.5GHz 5G channels on some parts of its network, while this most recent test ups speeds with an additional third channel.

Using carrier aggregation to show off impressive network speeds is nothing new. Verizon previously used the technology to demonstrate speeds of 4.2Gbps on its 5G network in 2020. But T-Mobile claims to be the first to use three-carrier aggregation on a live, standalone 5G network with a commercially available device: the Samsung Galaxy S22. Incidentally, T-Mobile subscribers with a Galaxy S22 will be “among the first” to be able to use this unique flavor of 5G when it arrives in more places later this year.

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