T-Mobile’s 5G network is about to get a lot faster — for some customers who happen to have a certain Samsung phone.
The wireless carrier said on Tuesday that it is rolling out so-called four-carrier aggregation — jargon for bundling different bands of airwaves together for a larger pipe to enable higher 5G data speeds — in parts of the country, with nationwide coverage coming in the next few weeks.
This kind of networking feature, however, is only currently available on Samsung’s Galaxy S23. (Sorry, iPhone users). T-Mobile said more compatible devices will follow and a spokesman confirmed they will include existing phones.
T-Mobile is in the midst of a race with the other major carriers — Verizon and AT&T — to offer the highest speeds and broadest coverage. But the company has routinely proved to be more nimble when it comes to rolling out new networking technologies.
The technique involves allowing the phone to tap into four different bands of wireless spectrum — airwaves that are critical to delivering data over to your phone. By combining the four bands, T-Mobile compares it to creating a large superhighway out of four separate lanes. An additional benefit from the use of low frequency airwaves, which have longer range, which means overall coverage should improve.
T-Mobile says the upgrade will enable peak speeds of 3.3 gigabits per second, several times faster than your standard wireless speed. Peak speeds, however, are the theoretical best-cases scenario, and only happen under ideal circumstances. The higher bandwidth, however, means your general speeds will improve even if you’re in a congested area.
The network upgrade comes as the company gears up to launch two new modems this year. T-Mobile wasn’t immediately available to confirm if the modems will support this type of four-way carrier aggregation.