T-Mobile is planning to deploy 28,000 new small cell stations throughout the United States in the immediate future, the company's Vice President of Technology Development and Strategy Karri Kuoppamaki said earlier this week while speaking at the latest iteration of the Next-Gen Wireless Networks Summit in Dallas, Texas. T-Mobile's latest push for additional small cell deployment is directly related to its 5G ambitions, with the company seeking to better prepare its infrastructure for the incoming commercialization of the fifth generation of mobile networks that promises higher speeds and lower latencies but requires significant investments from the telecom industry, many of which have already been made.
Small cell station deployment is T-Mobile's primary tool for densifying its network and reduce its reliance on macro towers, especially as they alone won't be enough to ensure reliable 5G connections, Mr. Kuoppamaki suggested, adding that the third largest mobile service provider in the country already managed to deploy "thousands" of small cell stations across the country but without elaborating on the matter. In regards to the company's upcoming efforts, the 28,000 figure cited by its VP is only meant to pertain to stations that are planned for "short-term" deployment, which implies that the project will be completed by early 2018 and additional stations are likely to be planned for installation in the meantime. The Bellevue, Washington-based firm already enlisted the help of numerous fiber service providers in order to facilitate its small cell deployment efforts, Mr. Kuoppamaki said, adding that the company believes such partnerships are the best way to go about 5G preparations, especially since T-Mobile was specifically targeting entities that deal in both fiber and small cells.
T-Mobile VP also reflected on the wireless carrier's ongoing 600MHz deployment efforts, reiterating that some of its stations already went live over the summer and adding that many more will do the same in the coming weeks. The company plans to conclude the year with a reliable 600MHz network spanning an area of 1.2 million square miles, with that number being expected to spike in 2018. T-Mobile is aiming to commercialize nationwide 5G by 2020 but should already start offering such services in select areas come 2019.