T-Mobile recently tapped into the edge computing power of 5G to pull off an impressive concert for T-Mobile employees at its headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.

In a blog post today, T-Mobile’s EVP of Advanced & Emerging Technologies John Saw explained how it all went down.

Working with San Francisco-based Mixhalo – a graduate of T-Mobile’s 5G Open Innovation Lab – T-Mobile hosted a concert where the audience listened to the music from Mixhalo’s soundboard in real-time through ear buds.

“That sounds fairly simple, but here’s where it gets interesting,” Saw wrote. “The challenge with sending audio to people in the audience is that they are sitting in front of big speakers sending soundwaves at more than 1,000 feet per second. That means, if you are 50 feet from the speaker, your phone has to get the audio in less than 50 milliseconds.

”If the network is too slow, the listener will hear an annoying echo. However, “T-Mobile’s 5G network was fast enough to beat the soundwaves to the audience … and the Mixhalo app actually had to DELAY the audio from hitting peoples’ ears so that it was in sync with the music coming from the loudspeakers,” he explained. “And unbeknownst to the audience, this was an excellent way to showcase our edge computing capability over 5G, as we installed the Mixhalo server at our edge to enable even faster response times.”

The Mixhalo team also turned off the speakers and played into the microphones, sending the audio only through the Mixhalo app. “The experience for listeners was great, and people nearby not attending the concert heard nothing,” he said. “I guess you could call it a “silent 5G concert.”

Of course, he noted that to pull off something like that, you need a network with super high capacity and super low latency. T-Mobile just so happens to have that with 5G.

Saw’s blog didn’t point out that he had a big role in making it all happen in the first place. Saw, the former CTO of Sprint, was the second employee at Clearwire, where years ago they pieced together a jigsaw puzzle that would eventually become the foundation for T-Mobile’s 2.5 GHz spectrum layer for 5G.

Currently, Auction 108 is underway at the FCC in which T-Mobile is widely expected to be the largest bidder, picking up “white space” 2.5 GHz licenses in places it doesn’t already cover.

Now, if only making voice phone calls using 5G Voice over New Radio (VoNR) were as easy as the Mixhalo feat…

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