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T-Mobile US (TMUS) Seeks FCC Permission for E-Band 5G Trial


T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS recently requested for Special Temporary Authority (STA) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to test microwave radio spectrum bands in two sites in Bellevue, WA.

The third-largest wireless operator in the United States has plans to evaluate microwave radio spectrum with integrated antenna for the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz bands. Spectrum bands in the above-mentioned range are commonly known as “lightly licensed” E-band frequencies. The manufacturer of the equipment is Ceragon Networks Ltd.

The company aims to initiate full-phased 5G deployment from around 2020. T-Mobile US, plans to use new 600MHz spectrum assets alongside mid-band airwaves and 200MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands. The company has started the densification of the network as part of the 5G effort. The company plans to roll out 2,000 more small cells in 2017 and an additional 25,000 by the end of 2018.

The company is likely to use unlicensed or lightly-licensed millimeter wave frequencies, such as the 60 GHz V-Band or 70/80 GHz E-Band, which is a cost-effective choice for deploying fiber like 5G fixed wireless access (FWA).

T-Mobile US is planning to team up with dark fiber partners to backhaul small cell densification project. Dark fiber provides abundant bandwidth which is of utmost necessity for the smooth functioning of super-fast wireless networks such as 4G and 5G. Dark fiber based backhaul provides scalability and efficiency to bandwidth management. This will enable the company to significantly reduce backhaul costs.

In October 2017, T-Mobile US requested for STA from the FCC to test pre-commercial LTE Advanced (LTE-A) in El Paso, TX, and Augusta, GA. The trial was conducted using multiple spectrum bands, 700 MHz, PCS and AWS spectrum licensed to T-Mobile US as well as AWS-3 spectrum that is held by the FCC. In the Augusta and El Paso markets, the company planned to use the base stations of Nokia Corp. NOK and Ericsson AB ERIC, respectively.

Recent Trial Permit From FCC

In October 2017, CenturyLink Inc. CTL sought permission from the FCC to conduct trials of fixed wireless spectrum bands in the range of 3.54-3.70 GHz frequency band. The trial was aimed to check the utilization of wireless bands to provide better broadband services and extend them to rural areas.

Zacks Rank and Price Performance

Currently, T-Mobile US is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Despite such positives, T-Mobile US portrays a disappointing price performance. In the past month, the stock returned 9.7% compared with the industry’s rally of 10.5%.

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