What does the Sprint and T-Mobile merger mean for 5G?

After years of back and forth, Sprint and T-Mobile finally announced plans to merge. And while there are many steps that the two companies will have to go through to convince regulators that they should be allowed to merge, if they ask T-Mobile and Sprint, the main reason is that the two companies together will be better equipped to roll a the next generation of the 5G network.

In fact, it's such an important part of the rhetoric behind the merger that T-Mobile and Sprint have had a whole website debate that point, under the "5G for All" brand (complete with a campaign of social media hashtag)

According to the large advertisement video of the two companies, the combined "New T-Mobile" and its 5G network will take advantage of T-Mobile's 5G plans to use the 600MHz spectrum band and Sprint plans to the 2.5GHz band to build a national network that will be "the highest capacity mobile network in the history of the United States." The two companies also mention using a mixture of "low band, medium band and high band". "Spectrum, which has been a T-Mobile party line for a while, but not much beyond that.

So far, there is no new information on how the merger could affect the time for deployment of the new 5G network Currently, Sprint has promised a 5G launch by the end of 2019, and the company is already starting to lay the foundations in several cities with the new Massive MIMO antenna arrays at the beginning of this year. Mobile has promised 5G nationwide by the end of 2020 in some form, with a full release by 2020, it has also begun to build 5G in several cities, although the company does not expect anything to be ready for real consumer use before next It is important to keep in mind that this is probably referring to the non-autonomous version of 5G, that is, to the 5G network built over existing LTE networks, and not to the truly independent 5G networks that They will come later (3GPP has only ratified the non-independent standard, and the independent 5G is not expected to have an agreed standard until later this year at least)

Now, at least on paper, combining the available spectrum of the low 600MHz band from T-Mobile and the central band of Sprint 2.5GHz seems like a good start, one that will make the deployment of A larger 5G network will be easier for the two companies with the most consistent and reliable speeds in all areas. But Qualcomm's first tests have shown that by using 5G technologies (which include better aggregation of carriers and arrays of massive MIMO antennas) in ranges of medium-band antennas it offers impressive speed increases, mmWave coverage is where the gains are located more dramatic, and that's something that T-Mobile and Sprint have remained remarkably quiet.

But the big question – and one that Sprint and T-Mobile will have to answer to regulators – remains as follows: why should the two companies be allowed to follow this type of network together, rather than push the competition in the American cell industry? Separate companies?

Unfortunately, so far, Sprint and T-Mobile are focusing less on what their combinations of 5G technologies can provide. an innovation perspective, and more about the implicit destiny that could affect the greatness of American innovation if they are not allowed to merge.

Taking a look at T-Mobile and Sprint's 5G site, you'll find few mentions of what the 5G combined network looks like. Instead, there are pages on how the "US MUST repeat its 4G leadership" and how "economic leadership is at risk", and an implication that the US UU Adopt early 4G is the reason why there are companies like Lyft, Uber, Snapchat, Tinder, Venmo, Square and Instagram. The two also drive the idea that if Sprint and T-Mobile can not join, the United States could lose the next round of economic innovation in places like China or South Korea.

They are consenting to a very specific mentality, one that believes that China, Japan and other nations want to defeat the USA. UU When it comes to 5G networks, evoking the completely absurd proposal of the Trump administration for a national 5G network that was leaked earlier this year, it focused mainly on the fear of China.

No amount of manual movements by John Legere and Marcelo Claure can change the fact that 5G standardization is a process that involves international agreements about what the standard will look like from groups like 3GPP and the International Telecommunications Union, or that there are no US companies that manufacture cellular base stations for these networks to work.

John Legere has said that "only T-Mobile and Sprint can do this together, we can not do this separately." (A curious statement, given that both companies had separately announced plans to launch 5G networks on a national level. next year before this announcement.) But Sprint and T-Mobile need to start testing that with details and data, no more jingoistic pride.

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