T-Mobile Forges Powerhouse Alliance With Nokia To Fuel 2019 5G Wireless Rollout

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Things are just getting started when it comes to a broad rollout for 5G. There have been no smartphones announced with 5G capabilities -- yet -- but vendors like Qualcomm and Intel have already announced their 5G modems that will be going into future devices.

But it's just not device support that is needed to bring 5G to the masses; there also has be backend support from wireless carriers to deliver the increased speeds to customers. Third-place U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile today announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Nokia to provide hardware solutions, software and services for its 5G rollout.

This will be an end-to-end technology partnership that will incorporate 600MHz and 28GHz millimeter wave 5G connectivity that is fully compliant with the GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standard. Nokia plans to provide to T-Mobile with AirFrame hardware and AirScale radio platforms along with CloudBand software and 5G acceleration services. 

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"Every dollar we spend is a 5G dollar, and our agreement with Nokia underscores the kind of investment we’re making to bring customers a mobile, nationwide 5G network," said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray.  

“This is a testament to our companies’ strong and productive working relationship, one which has produced several important technological milestones in recent months, and which now allows us to make 5G a commercial reality,” added Ashish Chowdhary, Chief Customer Operations Officer for Nokia. 

T-Mobile is hoping to begin its initial 5G rollouts in 2019, and by that time, it's hoping that its planned merger with fourth-place Sprint will have passed regulatory muster so that it can emerge as powerful third-place competitor to Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Both Verizon and AT&T announced back in late February that they would begin commercial rollouts of 5G wireless in late 2018, starting first with 5G mobile hotspot “pucks”. Not surprisingly, T-Mobile CEO John Legere fired back, stating, “Dumb and Dumber are in a meaningless race to be first. Their so-called 5G isn’t mobile, and it’s not even on a smartphone. It’s a puck?! You gotta be pucking kidding me!

“While the Duopoly focus on bragging rights, we focus on customers. T-Mobile has massively bigger plans for a truly transformative 5G experience on your smartphone nationwide. We’re playing the long game ... the only game that matters.”