OpenSignal: T-Cellular’s 5G speeds are #1 in U.S. due to 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum

The U.S. 5G expertise is in the course of a interval of nice change.  U.S. wi-fi carriers shall be quickly be capable of begin utilizing new mid-band spectrum (3.7 GHz, or C-band) in 46 markets from December. Collectively they’ve spent a mixed $81.11bn in licences to enhance the 5G expertise with this extra capability. Already, Opensignal has noticed a powerful rise in T-Cellular customers’ 5G Obtain Velocity enabled by T-Cellular’s present mid-band spectrum. Our T-Cellular 5G customers noticed their common 5G obtain speeds soar by 66.5%, from 71.3 Mbps in Opensignal’s April 2021 5G Expertise report to 118.7 Mbps within the newest report printed in October 2021.

Which means that in our most up-to-date evaluation T-Cellular led by 62.7 Mbps over second positioned Verizon and 67.2 Mbps over AT&T — with 5G obtain speeds greater than twice as quick as these achieved by their opponents. In our new evaluation we see that T-Cellular’s use of its 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum enabled this enhance and non-standalone entry was necessary right here. Moreover, this modification helps clarify the totally different quantities that every provider spent within the C-band public sale: Verizon, $45.45bn; AT&T, $23.41bn; whereas T-Cellular spent considerably much less at $9.34bn.

To elucidate the change in 5G expertise noticed by our  T-Cellular customers, we analyzed their common 5G obtain speeds over time wanting on the two totally different spectrum bands that the operator is focusing its 5G deployment efforts on — the 600 MHz (NR band 71) and a pair of.5 GHz (NR band 41).

Our evaluation exhibits that T-Cellular’s surge in 5G Obtain Velocity was pushed by its ongoing deployment of the two.5 GHz band. We noticed that, not solely T-Cellular expanded its use of the two.5 GHz band over time, however the operator has additionally very seemingly elevated the quantity of spectrum capability allotted for 5G in that band. In actual fact, we’ve seen the typical 5G obtain speeds skilled by our T-Cellular customers when related to the two.5 GHz band enhance by greater than 40% rising from 170.1 Mbps in March 2021 to 239.3 Mbps in September 2021. Against this, common 5G speeds on the 600 MHz band had no statistically important change and remained flat at barely under 30 Mbps.

Notably, the majority of the increase on the two.5GHz band occurred between March and July 2021 —a rise of 39.3% — after that common 5G speeds remained steady simply above 235 Mbps. For context, in September 2021 T-Cellular mentioned that it had deployed 60-80 MHz of the mid-band, up from the 40-50MHz it had been utilizing in late 2020, and that said that it’s aiming to make use of 100 MHz on websites by the tip of the 12 months. Extra spectrum capability makes it simpler for customers to see greater 5G speeds.

We noticed a lot slower speeds that modified little when our T-Cellular customers related to the 600 MHz band. This isn’t shocking, given the propagation traits and quantity of spectrum that T-Cellular owns on this band. Low bands like 600 MHz present cell protection to wider areas with fewer cells deployed, however at a value of extra restricted capability. Mid-bands like 2.5 GHz, which T-Cellular acquired after its merger with Dash, often provide greater capability, however want extra cells per sq. mile to realize comparable protection to the low bands.

T-Cellular refers to its 5G spectrum deployment technique as a ‘layer cake’ — with low bands used for extensive protection, complemented by mid and better frequency bands to offer better capability for small and dense metropolis areas. The way in which T-Cellular makes use of these spectrum bands is in line with what we noticed in our evaluation.

We then seemed on the proportions of 5G readings that we collected when our customers have been related to T-Cellular’s 600 MHz and a pair of.5 GHz bands. The share of 5G readings noticed on the two.5 GHz band has elevated greater than 3 times, from almost 9% in March 2021 to over 27% in September 2021. Which means that T-Cellular 5G customers are in a position to entry the two.5GHz band extra simply which additional explains the rise within the general 5G pace seen by T-Cellular customers.

We investigated the position of standalone entry (SA) and non-standalone entry (NSA) 5G in explaining T-Cellular’s expertise, constructing on our earlier evaluation of standalone 5G on T-Cellular. Now, we are able to see that the two.5 GHz band is predominantly used with NSA and so SA just isn’t the important thing motive for the advance in 5G speeds (though it seemingly does proceed to produce other advantages).

Maybe counterintuitively, the typical 5G obtain pace our customers noticed on the 600 MHz band with SA was slower than on NSA. Partly, that is due to the position of 4G bands in supporting the 5G expertise when a smartphone is in NSA mode as we’ve seen in different markets (for instance South Korea or in Europe).

Opensignal’s newest report validates what our prospects already know – T-Cellular’s differentiated method to 5G is delivering significant 5G experiences now with ever-increasing speeds and increasing protection,” mentioned Neville Ray, president of Expertise at T-Cellular, in a assertion. “Our two-year lead on constructing 5G will proceed as we add much more Extremely Capability protection and develop it to succeed in 200 million individuals nationwide this 12 months.  T-Cellular prospects profit from an actual 5G community that in the present day can energy immersive and transformative experiences.”

T-Cellular justifiably claims they’ve the biggest, quickest and most dependable 5G community. Almost a dozen impartial third-party stories this 12 months additionally present how T-Cellular’s differentiated 5G deployment delivers significant connections to prospects – naming T-Cellular 5G #1 in nationwide pace and availability. After just lately launching a new Extremely Capability 5G icon exhibiting prospects when they’re in an space the place they’ll faucet into T-Cellular’s quickest 5G speeds, the variety of prospects testing T-Cellular’s Extremely Capability 5G community elevated. As prospects discovered how broadly Extremely Capability 5G is offered, in addition they skilled how game-changing mid-band 5G might be.

AT&T and Verizon will search to spice up their 5G expertise with mid-band quickly:

Our evaluation exhibits that T-Cellular’s acquisition of Dash’s mid-band spectrum property by the merger allowed it to construct a considerable lead over its opponents as measured in our latest USA 5G Expertise stories. T-Cellular now has a big aggressive benefit over its opponents, which don’t have entry to any mid-band spectrum bands simply but.

Nevertheless, all the pieces will change quickly, as U.S. operators bought licenses within the C-band spectrum band (3.7 – 3.98 GHz) throughout Public sale 107 earlier this 12 months. In actual fact, the primary tranche of this C-band spectrum shall be out there to be used by December 2021. Plus the second portion shall be out there by the tip of 2023. T-Cellular’s 5G expertise highlights the significance for Verizon and AT&T to maximise their use of latest mid-band spectrum.


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