Real-time augmented reality navigation. Instantaneous language translation. Embedded biometric tracking.
We’ll be able to use these technologies on-the-go if T-Mobile’s vision for a 5G network come to fruition.
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray spoke on Tuesday at the CCA Annual Convention in Seattle, joining FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other executives from the wireless industry.
In true T-Mobile form, Ray spent part of his 25-minute talk bashing the competition and touting his company’s status as America’s fastest growing wireless carrier over the last three years. He discussed T-Mobile’s 12 “Uncarrier” moves, like ending long-term contracts and eliminating data buckets, to demonstrate how “we have been dismantling customer pain points in this industry.”
Ray, a 21-year T-Mobile veteran, also said the carrier now covers 312 million people for LTE coverage — up from zero in 2012 — and has 67.4 million customers, up from 33 million in 2012. T-Mobile has added more than 1 million net customers for 13 straight quarters, or more than three years.
He noted that T-Mobile, which released preliminary Q3 subscriber figures today, also has had the fastest wireless network for ten quarters in a row, though that statistic is debatable depending on how the numbers are crunched.
“I’m sure there are folks at AT&T or Verizon that spit blood every morning looking at that data,” Ray said, citing LTE speed test results from Ookla. “It’s been in their face, and we love it. Why? Because it’s driving competition; it’s driving investment.”
Ray spent the last portion of his presentation talking about the future of T-Mobile — specifically, its vision for 5G, the next phase of telecommunications standards beyond 4G LTE.
We are still several years away from being able to access and use something like 5G, but there is already much discussion for how it will function and what possibilities could emerge from a faster, more robust mobile internet network.
Wheeler, the FCC chairman, spoke before Ray and talked about the importance of U.S. leadership for deployment of 5G networks.
— Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) September 7, 2016
T-Mobile on Tuesday released a short video that shows off potential use cases with a 5G network, like riding a bike that has an augmented reality map, or speaking to someone in another language and having your words translated in real-time.
Ray said that 5G could enable higher internet speeds, better data throughput rates, lower latency, more bandwidth, and more efficient battery capacities.
He also again criticized Verizon for its new LTE Advanced service, which it labels as the “next-gen” network.
“We have 4G today, and Verizon is now trying to tell us they have ‘next gen,’ which would be 5G,” Ray said. “They’re saying they have that today. I think that’s BS, and I think we all know that.
Added Ray: “The Verizon guys have got to stop this BS. It’s confusing for customers, calling what they’re doing now ‘next gen.’ … The stuff is old news.”
Ray, who also outlined these thoughts in a blog post, said that while T-Mobile has been quiet about its work with 5G, it is “extremely busy in trials.” He also said he’s most excited about 5G and consumer services, versus how others are more focused on how the technology enables a fixed broadband substitution or what it could do for the Internet of Things.
“The internet has completely moved into the mobility space, and with it goes content,” Ray explained, noting how everything is mobile and video nowadays. “That’s the truly exciting thing about what’s happening with 5G. As we look forward, we believe the 5G story is all about, and has to be all about, the consumer, and what consumer services will light up this industry and bring customers to all of our doors.”