Q&A: Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile
How can telcos work to deploy a nationwide 5G network that reaches all Americans? Why is something like this so important?
Every day across the country Americans increasingly depend on their ability to connect to the internet for communication with family and co-workers, for job searches, healthcare, schooling and more. Connectivity is more vital than ever before, and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to fully participate in today’s data and information-fueled society. Our merger with Sprint was critical to achieving this goal. The unique combination of assets from our merger is accelerating a 5G network that businesses and consumers all across the country are benefitting from. And the innovation that 5G is bringing is remarkable, from gigabit speeds and ultrafast response times, to true mobile broadband coverage that spans the U.S. and serves Americans nationwide.
At T-Mobile we’re working to build the best 5G network in the U.S. And we are well into our $40 billion dollar investment in network and services. We’re aggressively driving the pace of 5G innovation, bringing real and meaningful competition to the market. At the foundation of T-Mobile’s multi-lane 5G superhighway is fresh lowband 600 MHz spectrum. We’re using this to today cover 305 million people across 1.7 million squares miles with Extended Range 5G. In addition, we’re piling on a deep layer of midband 2.5 GHz spectrum for Ultra Capacity 5G service that covers 165 million people today and is slated to reach 200 million by year-end.
This multi-band spectrum strategy and deep midband capacity is enabling T-Mobile to go big after new opportunities, including disrupting the status quo for millions of people living in rural America who for decades have dealt with subpar Internet access. The sheer size and geography of our country makes running fiber to each and every home an insurmountable task. And it has left small towns and rural areas behind for decades. But with 5G, we’re able to unlock massive network capacity to deliver fixed wireless access to homes across the nation, including in small towns and rural areas.
How will standalone 5G impact the customer experience?
Standalone 5G enables us to unleash connectivity in ways that haven’t been possible with prior generations of technology. Over a year ago we reached a massive milestone being first in the world to launch a nationwide Standalone 5G network. And today, T-Mobile continues to have the only nationwide standalone 5G network in the U.S.
Standalone 5G eliminates the need for an LTE anchor so 5G can reach its true potential. With Standalone 5G we can unlock new applications using network slicing and advanced radio technologies. Connected vehicles, industrial robotics, supercharged IoT, mobile applications using mixed reality, plus so much more, are being built on this foundation.
How is 5G fuelling innovation across all industries? Do you have any examples of this in practise?
We’re working to fuel 5G innovation across the country to transform all industries, including those located in rural America that are so vital to our economy. We have a number of initiatives at T-Mobile to fuel this innovation and drive development. Last year we co-founded the 5G Open Innovation Lab in Seattle with Intel, NASA, Microsoft and others, and we’ve seen incredible development in emerging applications for edge computing, artificial intelligence and more. We also run our highly successful T-Mobile Accelerator program, which to date has worked closely with 75 young companies building everything from mixed reality applications for classrooms to breakthrough biomedical monitoring technology for the digital wellness industry. In addition, we continue to invest in early and growth stage companies through our multi-million-dollar, multi-year T-Mobile Ventures fund.
All of these programs give entrepreneurs and developers direct access to T-Mobile engineers and business leaders to help them develop, test and bring to market new 5G products and services. This past year we’ve seen some incredible work from a new driverless car launching on our 5G network in Las Vegas, to a T-Mobile 5G-powered Virtual Reality lab that’s revolutionizing learning for pre-med students at Fisk University, a top ranked HBCU. This kind of startup innovation is one of the many reasons we’re working to build the biggest and best 5G network in the country.