T-Mobile to begin nationwide 5G rollout in 2019

Looking to claim the nation's first 5G network, T-Mobile is focusing on coverage, and not speed.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
(Image: File photo)

T-Mobile on Tuesday announced plans to be the first carrier in the US to rollout 5G, using the 600 MHz band the company just purchased for $8 billion from the FCC.

The 5G spectrum rollout will begin in 2019, T-Mobile said. The nation's third-largest carrier is planning for full coverage across the US by 2020.

"We're going to build this big fat freeway across the US for 5G, and we don't think anyone else can do it at this time," T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said.

T-Mobile's plans for 5G are different than Verizon and AT&T, by focusing on broader coverage, rather than high frequencies that provide screaming fast 1Gbps speeds to compete with home internet.

"The carriers are using 5G to either distract from how badly they're losing today or to give their shareholders some hope they can compete with Big Cable," John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, said. "Their ambitious vision for Fixed 5G to replace home internet will never provide mobile 5G coverage. It makes no sense."

Ray explained T-Mobile's 5G rollout in a blog post:

First, we are going to dedicate part of the new 600 MHz spectrum we just won to LTE and then part to 5G nationwide. This meansT-Mobile is the first company to commit to building a nationwide 5G network. And yes that's real 5G, not fake 5G! And that's nationwide Mobile 5G, not Fixed 5G!

In addition to the 600 MHz band, we have 200 MHz of spectrum in the 28/39 GHz bands covering nearly 100 million people in major metropolitan areas and an impressive volume of mid-band spectrum to deploy 5G in as well. This positions T-Mobile to deliver a 5G network that offers BOTH breadth and depth nationwide.

Verizon previously announced it will begin 5G tests in 11 US cities in the first half of 2017. AT&T has partnered with Intel to begin tests in Texas and Indiana, before a larger rollout across the country.

T-Mobile is steadily pushing forward with its Uncarrier program. T-Mobile recently posted strong subscriber gains, as Verizon posted net addition declines for the first three months of 2017.

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