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T-Mobile Seeks Authorization for 6 GHz Band Wi-Fi Testing

The News: T-Mobile recently asked the FCC for authorization to evaluate Wi-Fi 6 capabilities and performance in the 6 GHz spectrum band. The company wants to explore the potential of the unlicensed spectrum to expand and enhance its Home Internet service. Read more coverage from FierceWireless here.

T-Mobile Seeks Authorization for 6 GHz Band Wi-Fi Testing

Analyst Take: T-Mobile recently launched its 5G Home Internet service using a 5G Gateway which converts 5G signals to provide Wi-Fi signals to all devices in a consumer’s home. Now the company is looking to the future, petitioning the FCC for special temporary authority to test the capabilities of unlicensed 6 GHz band at two fixed access points in Virginia. T-Mobile believes the 6 GHz band could help it expand and enhance home Internet service but wants to ensure that future Wi-Fi 6 service “does not cause harmful interference to incumbents”— a likely nod to potential concerns voiced by the aviation community.

Like other carriers, T-Mobile has previously made use of unlicensed spectrum to offload traffic from its cellular networks to manage traffic and prevent overloading. The company has a history of advocating for more spectrum licensing, but this application is a reminder of the importance of unlicensed spectrum in its long-term strategy. Unlicensed spectrum, which is where Wi-FI operates, is a highly prized resource and one that has long been an essential component of its network and operations.

T-Mobile Positions Itself as an Innovator in 6 GHz Use

T-Mobile’s application includes a reminder of the company’s track record in bringing cutting-edge solutions to the market, including its nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and next-generation Wi-Fi calling capabilities. T-Mobile considers itself a leader in the mid-band wave adoption that led to today’s widespread 5G networks. This move would bring more attention to use cases in the 6 GHz spectrum and above, often considered the tipping point from 5G to mmWave, which allows for much higher speeds but has drawbacks in that it is more susceptible to interference from obstacles.

By seeking special temporary authorization to test applications in the 6 GHz spectrum, T-Mobile positions itself as an innovator in 6 GHz use and a leader among wireless carriers. On the heels of recent independent tests revealing that T-Mobile has the fastest and most available 5G coverage in the US, the company is smartly looking to the future to discover what’s next and how to enhance and expand its services to consumers.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

T-Mobile Hits 100% Renewable Energy Goal: Boosts Sustainability Credentials of Mobile Industry

T-Mobile RE100 Milestone Elevates Clean Energy as a Key Consideration for Mobile Services

6G Technology Will Have a Major Impact on Devices, Materials, and Communications — Here’s What’s Ahead

Image Credit: T-Mobile

Author Information

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”


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