Major telcos like Verizon Wireless and AT&T are already looking to make a mark in the 5G arena by becoming the first to launch this speedy network in the U.S. Both have turned on the mobile service in multiple cities across the country, seemingly giving them a head start over T-Mobile.
But according to the Un-carrier, the two are merely obsessed with claiming “first” than providing Americans with true 5G. In fact, the Magenta carrier is adamant that both Verizon and AT&T don’t have anything consumer-ready with respect to 5G.
T-Mobile is pushing for a merger with Sprint, with better 5G services one of the reasons the two want to come together. The Magenta carrier has already started rolling out its wireless home internet service that it hopes will bring 5G to your home in the future. The telco has also shed some light on the possible costs of switching to a 5G plan as well as the new possibilities this network brings.
But does all this mean T-Mobile has a different and better 5G plan from the rest? Well, let’s find out.
- T-Mobile + Sprint = The New T-Mobile
- True 5G depends on the merger
- The merger will triple 5G capacity by 2024
As noted, T-Mobile is working on a merger with Sprint. The carrier strongly believes this merger will be a breakthrough towards providing Americans, including those in rural areas, true 5G services.
Unlike Verizon and AT&T that are depending on mmWave spectrum alone for 5G (mmWave has better speed and capacity but in small areas, like cities and urban centers), the merger with Sprint would enable the New T-Mobile to leverage all spectrum bands to bring 5G for all.
The Un-carrier has a strong portfolio of low-band spectrum as well as mmWave spectrum while Sprint comes in with the mid-band spectrum. Combined, all spectrums promise to deliver seamless and meaningful 5G experiences to users across the entire nation, including areas where mmWave won’t be able to reach.
According to T-Mobile, “By 2024, New T-Mobile’s network will have approximately double the total capacity and triple the total 5G capacity than T-Mobile and Sprint combined. New T-Mobile plans to create the highest capacity network in U.S. history.”
T-Mobile 5G cities
- T-Mobile has built 5G in 30 cities
- But only 4 major cities to get it first
Verizon and AT&T have already started rolling out 5G across the country, but only in a handful of cities. While this is happening, T-Mobile has remained mum on when it will begin 5G tests and rollout.
At the MWC 2018, the Magenta carrier talked of building 5G in 30 cities by the end of the year, but only those in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas would enjoy it first when it arrives. The carrier quietly began testing 5G in New York City, with speeds of up to 493Mbps reported via the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (Unlocked Verizon variant).
Even so, the carrier says it will provide a coverage roadmap when 5G is ready for mainstream use, limited as it may be.
T-Mobile 5G phones
- No devices available for users yet
- The S10 5G could be the first device
- LG V50 and Galaxy Note 10 to be next
As pointed out above, T-Mobile doesn’t have any consumer-ready smartphones that can be used to test if 5G services are already available in the promised cities. The carrier notes that like Verizon and AT&T, it does have the same 5G software and equipment, but since there’s no way actual consumers of 5G would benefit from this at the moment, it won’t be launched until when they can do so.
But when is this? You may ask. According to T-Mobile, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be the first consumer-ready device to work on its 5G network. Although we don’t know when exactly this will be, what we do know is that the S10 5G arrives in the U.S. on May 16.
The initial sales will be exclusive to Verizon Wireless, which does confirm that the Big Red will be the first to offer consumers 5G service, limited as it may be. If anything, the wait for the S10 5G to arrive on T-Mobile could last a month or so, meaning 5G should arrive on the Un-carrier before the end of Q2 2019.
T-Mobile 5G data plans
- Same prices as 4G expected
- Pricing strategy could change after 3-4 years
With the potential of 5G arriving very soon, questions have been asked of carriers in regards to the cost of mobile data plans. Verizon is said to be charging an extra $10 for 5G while AT&T says the prices will be revised upwards after 2-3 years.
Although T-Mobile hasn’t put forward any official details about the cost of its 5G data plans, the Un-carrier has been quite clear that current prices will remain unchanged, although things could change after three or so years, just like AT&T.
Essentially, T-Mobile will charge the same $70 per month for unlimited access to 5G data for a single line, just like the current T-Mobile One plan for 4G LTE.
While it’s evident that T-Mobile is pushing for the merger with Sprint with 5G at the center of it all, the Magenta carrier will still be able to push through with its individual 5G plans even if the merger fails.
Even if it lags behind the likes of Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile will still be fine considering there aren’t many 5G devices. By the time they are here, the carrier is confident that it will be ready.