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T-Mobile follows AT&T with plans for 5G field trials in 2016

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T-Mobile USA has become the latest operator to schedule 5G field trials for later this year, launching a new research project with Nokia.

The pre-standards lab and trials will use spectrum in 28GHz band to trial and demo 5G components and use cases supporting massive bandwidth and next to zero latency. The two companies already work together on LTE.

Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile, said: "We're looking forward to working with Nokia to bring 5G capabilities out of the lab and into field trials with LTE technology and spectrum we already have today. Building on investments we've made to deliver America's fastest 4G LTE, this puts us on the path to real 5G use cases once 5G consumer smartphones are available in the 2020+ timeframe."

T-Mobile rival AT&T will launch its virtualisation and mmwave-based 5G network in Austin, Texas, later this year. The operator is working with Ericsson and Intel on the testbed.

Despite the increasing number of 5G field trials outside of Europe, operators are content to continue to hold demos and proofs of concept.

On Tuesday, Ericsson's CTO told delegates he was pessimistic about Europe's ability to drive 5G innovation. When this was put to a panel of operators including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia and Vodafone, operators said they were relaxed about their stance.

Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn said: "For me, it doesn't matter. It's important our customers have the use cases that are necessary."