T-Mobile quickly deploying Ultra Capacity 5G in Puerto Rico
T-Mobile Puerto Rico is moving at a “breakneck pace” on its deployment of next-generation Ultra Capacity technology, which calls for focusing on underserved and rural areas to deliver faster and more reliable service, Jorge Martel, general manager of T-Mobile Puerto Rico, confirmed.
To date, the wireless carrier has retrofitted 66% of its sites across Puerto Rico with the Ultra Capacity technology, which users can detect on their devices — particularly iPhones — when it is available as a symbol that says “5GUC” next to the coverage bars.
Of those, 70 new cell sites lit up this year giving access to the Ultra Capacity 5G signal in Lares, Gurabo, Isablea, Utuado, Cabo Rojo, Moca, Aibonito and Morovis.
“The combination of coverage and speed that we’re building at a breakneck pace is why we’re already seeing the benefits of 5G come to life in Puerto Rico, with partners like Engine-4 and their projects developing technologies that will change the way we live and many aspects of how society works,” said Martel, during an interview with News is my Business.
Ultra Capacity 5G can deliver average wireless broadband speeds of 400 Mbps or more, which translates into giving users the ability to download content quicker, get more reliable connections for services such as video calls, and improved performance for cloud gaming and live event streaming with virtually no lag.
In Puerto Rico, extending the next-generation technology — which is a combination of several broadband spectrums, some brought over from T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint two years ago — will run through next year.
“With this, you start to see how through wireless technology, you can offer a capacity and greater speed, and reach places where there used to be one option, or none,” said Martel. “The impact that this deployment has is that you will see speeds in underserved rural areas that a few years ago only reached offices in Hato Rey. Puerto Rico is one of the markets that’s benefiting from the union of the two networks.”
“Also, we’re taking this technology to areas that didn’t have 5G before, or the economic levels, with the fewest levels of barriers possible so they can access world-class technology,” said Martel.
Although the carrier would not disclose how much it plans to invest in the Ultra Capacity upgrade across Puerto Rico, Martel did say the company is working with federal money available through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Uniendo a Puerto Rico fund, established several years ago to bridge the gap in wireless broadband services.
Furthermore, T-Mobile recently announced that it invested nearly $3 billion in FCC Auction 110, securing additional band spectrum to further power its Ultra Capacity 5G network, which will serve to take its 5G network to the next level.
The adoption of Ultra Capacity 5G is already showing results, as several developer and accelerator hubs have popped up across the US and Puerto Rico, and new partnerships have been established with universities and entities such as the Girls Scouts on the island.
“Engine-4 has projects underway in the areas of agriculture and to regenerate corals, for which they use our technology. They use drones and our nearshore network to bring back information,” said Martel. “The Girl Scouts are being taught about coding, to develop women who will lead in the sciences.”
T-Mobile expects to extend its Ultra Capacity signal to Vieques and Culebra by the end of this year, and eventually cover the US Virgin Islands, which is part of its Caribbean footprint, Martel confirmed.