Tmobile 5g at 600 MHzT-Mobile said today that it will launch 5G nationwide in 2019 using a combination of 600 MHz and millimeter wave spectrum. The company originally had targeted 2020 for nationwide 5G. The news was included in a press release about the company’s third quarter earnings, which were released today.

The nationwide launch would catapult T-Mobile from last place to first place on 5G coverage among the nation’s four nationwide carriers. AT&T and Verizon have launched 5G using millimeter wave in small portions of more than a dozen markets apiece. Sprint has used spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band for its launches, which cover broader portions of several markets. In comparison, T-Mobile has only turned up small portions of six markets, where the company has relied on millimeter wave spectrum.

T-Mobile Nationwide 5G Launch Plans
Using 600 MHz spectrum will be key to T-Mobile’s ability to quickly turn up nationwide service, as lower-frequency (also known as low-band) spectrum — including 600 MHz spectrum — offers broader cover in comparison with the higher-frequency spectrum that the industry has relied on to date for 5G. Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum is considered mid-band, while millimeter wave spectrum is extremely high-frequency.

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The downside to low-band spectrum is that the speeds it can support won’t be as high as what other carriers have experienced using higher-frequency spectrum. T-Mobile has not talked about what speeds its 600 MHz 5G network will support but it would seem unlikely that it would match the multi-hundred megabits per second speeds that other carriers have reported for 5G deployed in higher-frequency bands.

The 5G speeds that a carrier will be able to support also are dependent on the amount of spectrum that a carrier uses for 5G. AT&T has deployed service using more than 400 MHz of spectrum in some areas. In comparison, T-Mobile noted in today’s press release that it owns an average of 31 MHz of 600 MHz spectrum nationwide.

Nevertheless, it is likely that T-Mobile’s 5G service will provide service that exceeds LTE speeds. In addition, 5G standards call for extremely low latency in comparison with previous-generation technology – another capability that will differentiate 5G from LTE, even if 5G is deployed in 31 MHz of 600 MHz spectrum.

Another key element underlying T-Mobile’s plans for a nationwide 5G launch is handsets that operate in the 600 MHz band. Until now, none have been available, but T-Mobile announced last week that it will have two before year-end. One of these will be the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren, which will be exclusive to T-Mobile, the company said.

In the release about the OnePlus device, T-Mobile said it would launch 5G using 600 MHz spectrum in 2019 in areas serving 200 million people. At that time, the company said, rather obliquely, that this move would make T-Mobile “the country’s first 5G network expected to deliver nationwide 5G coverage and service.”

Like T-Mobile, AT&T also has been planning to launch 5G nationwide in 2020, and in July the company said it might have a 5G smartphone in 2019 that will operate in the 700 MHz band, which AT&T plans to use to support nationwide service.

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4 thoughts on “T-Mobile to Launch 5G Nationwide in 2019

  1. I can get anywhere from 45-180 Mbps of data service from T-Mobile via their LTE+ pretty much anywhere in the Kansas-Oklahoma-Colorado-New Mexico area where they have had 600 MHz spectrum installed for a couple of years now. That is pretty decent, and usable for nearly any function I would want to use my limited "unlimited" cellular data plan for, so I will be VERY interested to see just how much better 5G will be.

    I seriously doubt that this part of the country will actually get 5G when this "nationwide" deployment actually does take place. T-Mobile, and the other carriers, have thrown around that term a lot over the years, and it usually has meant a few sites on the east coast plus some on the west coast with nothing in between. The fact that T-Mobile has had 600 MHz spectrum installed and in use in the middle of the country for years now should indicate that this area should be among the first recipients of 5G, but T-Mobile is saying they want to cover 200 million by the end of the year, and they simply cannot get to those types of numbers without covering the major metropolitan areas first. The problem there is that in those most populous top markets, the TV stations have not moved to new frequencies yet, so I will be very curious to see where T-Mobile will gain the population numbers in this launch. It will be very interesting to watch.

    1. over in Lindale, TX I was able to connect to a B71 tower and tested over 100Mbps down and 30Mbps up.. So 600Mhz will deliver the speeds I need.. Currently most of the time I'm only getting a fair signal from B4 towers in my area.. On non congested days I've hit 40Mbps down and 15Mbps up… Most of the time it's below 20Mbps down and 8Mbps up.

    2. DO you live in Wichita?? I'm not able to get anything more than 10-15Mbps with the latest iPhone or their free demo hotspot.

      1. No, I live in northwest Oklahoma, 100 mi SW of Wichita. Our area was among the first in the country to get Band 71 and it is working very well. Data speeds have consitently increased over time as they have added capacity to their sites. I was in Wichita a couple weeks ago and saw the same speeds you mention, but I chalked it up as normal in a more urban setting where there are more users on the system at any one given time.

        I have done a lot of my testing very early in the morning, when cellular systems are in their least-used state and you get a more realistic picture of what is available. Around here that usually means in the neighborhood of 80 Mbps at 5 AM and that can drop to 30 or so during the day.

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