T-Mobile's next big 5G breakthrough will 'initially' hit iPhone 13 users 'by the end of this year'

T-Mobile's next big 5G breakthrough will 'initially' hit iPhone 13 users 'by the end of this year'
2021 is not over yet, and while we're obviously not expecting any big smartphone launches to happen by the end of the year, America's top wireless service providers can't really afford to take time off from their never-ending network upgrading and expansion efforts.

T-Mobile, for one, is constantly working on staying ahead of the competition in the rapidly shifting 5G landscape, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that yet another speed boost will be delivered just in time for Christmas for certain customers.

More than one year in the making

That's right, Magenta's iPhone 13-owning subscribers will be able to start taking advantage of 5G New Radio Carrier Aggregation (NR CA) technology "by the end of this year", according to T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray.

Ray recently shared this revelation on Reddit (of all places), highlighting the "significant boost in throughput" users should begin experiencing over the next couple of weeks (or perhaps days) before the groundbreaking tech eventually expands to "additional devices in Q1."

Initially demonstrated in tests on the LG Velvet 5G mid-ranger (of all devices) way back in October 2020, 5G Carrier Aggregation aims to, well, aggregate different 5G bands and flavors, unsurprisingly starting with T-Mo's 600 MHz low-band and 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum.

Instead of leveraging just one of the two game-changing technologies at any given time, NR CA will essentially make it possible to combine the low and mid-band strengths and thus vastly improve your 5G speeds on an impressively wide scale.

If you want to talk numbers, the aforementioned Velvet handset was capable of breaking the 1Gbps barrier with the help of Carrier Aggregation... in certain places, which is obviously not what you should expect to routinely get from your iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, or 13 Pro Max in the very near future.

Instead, like most other T-Mobile network advancements and breakthroughs from the last couple of years, this is likely to deliver a small speed and coverage improvement in the short run while laying the foundation for much more significant real-world progress down the line.

Looking ahead to an even brighter and faster future

Speaking of down the line, the list of "additional devices" set to receive NR CA capabilities during the first quarter of 2022 should include the vast majority of the "Un-carrier's" recently released 5G-enabled smartphones. 

We're most likely talking everything from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 to the S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra, as well as the OnePlus 9, 9 Pro, Google Pixel 6, and Pixel 6 Pro, all of which should already be capable of exploiting the full potential of the technology from a hardware perspective while only needing a software update that's undoubtedly in the works as we speak.

In case you're wondering, the networks T-Mo is looking to aggregate already cover 308 million people (the low-band "Extended Range" 5G signal) and 200 million people (the mid-band "Ultra Capacity" 5G spectrum), at least in theory, absolutely crushing the competition as far as availability... and even as far as speeds are concerned.

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Of course, the race to nationwide 5G supremacy remains a marathon rather than a sprint (although Sprint's mid-band spectrum definitely helped), and T-Mobile is committed to continue improving and expanding its network in all sorts of ways in both the distant and not-so-distant future.

That will include a Voice over New Radio (VoNR) rollout "as soon" as the operator's "stringent performance targets" are met, and well, a presumably slow expansion of the blazing fast but spotty mmWave technology that Neville Ray insists is not the best way to build a "nationwide 5G network that can support mobile applications." 

While it's obviously hard to argue with that point, we're fairly certain at least some T-Mobile customers in metropolitan areas would love to get the same crazy speeds their Verizon friends (occasionally) enjoy on Ultra Wideband.

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