T-Mobile is boasting about record-breaking uplink speeds of 345 Mbps on its 5G standalone (SA) network thanks to a new feature called uplink transmit switching, or UL Tx.

In a press release, the “un-carrier” claims it’s the fastest uplink ever recorded in North America using sub-6 GHz spectrum, demonstrating the technology’s potential to change the way mobile data gets transmitted.

T-Mobile describes UL Tx switching as a groundbreaking technology that enables seamless switching and a combination of different frequencies, effectively creating more uplink capacity and higher uplink speed.

In the test, engineers used equipment from Nokia’s AirScale portfolio and a mobile smartphone equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Modem-RF system. They combined carrier aggregation and single-user multiple input, multiple output MIMO (SU-MIMO), allowing the phone to send multiple data streams at the same time, producing uplink speeds 25% faster than T-Mobile’s previous record of 275 Mbps.  

“This achievement is a testament to our relentless pursuit of innovation and our commitment to delivering an even better network experience to our customers,” said T-Mobile President of Technology Ulf Ewaldsson in a statement. “Uplink transmit switching has the potential to significantly boost upload speeds and capacity, and we implore our partners around the globe to build the capability into the 5G ecosystem moving forward.”

It’s a nice coup for Nokia, which is undergoing challenging times between AT&T awarding Ericsson an open Radio Access Network (RAN) deal worth up to $14 billion and Verizon ditching Nokia for Samsung in 2020.

“We are proud to work with our long-term partner, T-Mobile on this important and significant achievement that will enhance the uplink speed and capacity of their 5G network – the largest and fastest in the U.S. – and deliver an even better experience for customers,” said Nokia President of Mobile Networks Tommi Uitto in a statement. “By working closely and collaboratively with our partners we can push the boundaries of what is possible with 5G.”

Qualcomm’s Durga Malladi, general manager, Technology Planning & Edge Solutions, said switched uplink “has the potential to reach these incredible upload speeds through smart, dynamic use of TDD and FDD spectrum in the device.”

Switched uplink also will serve the growing demand for upload-heavy user applications, devices and use cases such as smartphones, fixed wireless access, mobile broadband, and more, he added.

The industry already has delivered massive improvements in download speeds and more recently has been focused on boosting upload speeds. Better upload speeds are important when it comes to sharing content on social media, gaming, XR and video-based apps.

According to Opensignal, T-Mobile scores higher on upload speeds than its rivals Verizon and AT&T and T-Mobile widened its lead in Opensignal’s most recent report.

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