Update: AT&T responded to some of Mr. Ray's remarks and suggestions by providing the following statement:
The claim that AT&T isn’t willing to accept the responsibility of advancing mobile communications standards couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re serving in leadership positions across the industry, joining with other tech leaders and working to resolve key standards issues early to bring 5G to market sooner.
The original story is as follows.
T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said Thursday that the third largest carrier in the United States will commercialize 5G networks on a national level by 2020, thus reiterating the company's commitment to the next generation of wireless technologies. While speaking at a Barcelona, Spain-based investor conference, Mr. Ray pointed out how neither Verizon nor AT&T were willing to publicly accept the responsibility of advancing mobile communications standards throughout the country in three years' time like T-Mobile did, adding that the Bellevue, Washington-based company is presently planning to continue its 600MHz deployment in order to build a strong basis for 5G in the 2020s.
The 54-year-old also reflected on the millimeter-wave technology and its potential for 5G deployment while speaking to investors earlier today, indicating that while initiatives dedicated to "surgical, tactical deployment" of the fifth generation of mobile networks aren't irrelevant, they are unlikely to directly translate into nationwide commercialization of 5G technologies. Mr. Ray's remarks were meant to paint T-Mobile's 600MHz focus in a more positive, scalable, and ultimately commercially viable light compared to AT&T and Verizon's approach to 5G deployment. The carrier's endeavors related to its recently won spectrum remain somewhat limited in nature for the time being, with the mobile service provider still being in the early stages of leveraging its holdings which it only started utilizing with a small number of sites that started going live in August. T-Mobile isn't entirely dismissive of high-band spectrum utilized by fixed wireless technologies pursued by Verizon and AT&T yet remains adamant that the rest of the industry isn't paying enough attention to lower airwaves and mid-band frequencies.
The airwaves that presently make the bulk of T-Mobile's 5G focus have lower capacities than high-frequency bands but are significantly more capable of penetrating solid objects like walls, with the self-proclaimed Un-Carrier claiming that such technology is hence pertinent to deploying a functional 5G network meant for commercial use. The company's small cell-oriented approach is set to continue come early 2018 as T-Mobile starts putting more such sites in operation while simultaneously increasing the number of smartphones and tablets on its network that are capable of utilizing the new technology. Two such Android handsets are scheduled to be released tomorrow in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active and LG V30 Plus, with the base variant of the latter already supporting the wireless carrier's 600MHz network and becoming the first mobile device to do so after hitting the U.S. market in early October.