T-Mobile 5G: When & Where You Can Get It (Updated for 2019)

T-Mobile 5G cities, speed expectations, and more

Picture of the T-Mobile logo

T-MOBILE USA, INC.

T-Mobile customers can expect 5G access in the US this year, at least in a handful of locations.

The company will roll out mobile 5G in the second half of 2019, but is also developing a 5G broadband service so that you can get 5G's ultrafast speeds at home, too.

Metro, the company's prepaid brand, is also getting 5G in 2019.

What makes T-Mobile's 5G deployment different from other telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T, is their use of low-band spectrum (vs mmWave) to provide access to more areas. In particular, T-Mobile says their 5G network will cover 96 percent of rural Americans to offer them better and more choices.

T-Mobile 5G Cities

T-Mobile has 2020 as their target date for a nationwide 5G rollout, but they rolled out mobile 5G in 30 cities in 2018 to prepare for their 2019 launch.

These will be the first cities to experience T-Mobile's 5G services this year:

  • Dallas TX
  • Las Vegas NV
  • Los Angeles CA
  • New York NY

Although T-Mobile laid the groundwork for 5G in dozens of cities in 2018, they won't be usable until 5G smartphones are launched.

T-Mobile 5G Plan Details

Given that the company has yet to release nationwide 5G, solid details aren't available just yet about what the T-Mobile 5G plan will look like in terms of cost and features.

However, T-Mobile's CTO explains that their 5G plan will be unlimited, and for at least the first three years, it won't cost any more than T-Mobile's existing 4G plans ($70 /line).

T-Mobile's 5G Phones

One phone that T-Mobile will for sure release this year is the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. According to Samsung, T-Mobile will launch the S10 5G this summer, but it won't be available for Metro by T-Mobile.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is another 5G phone that will be released in 2019, and while T-Mobile will carry it, it's unclear right now whether it will be the 5G or 4G version.

T-Mobile 5G: Current Progress

According to T-Mobile, by 2021, they plan to provide download speeds of at least 100 Mbps for nearly 2/3 of the US population, and eventually, users can expect 450 Mbps download speeds, and even higher (up to 4 Gbps) in the future.

After a multi-billion dollar 5G investment with Nokia was announced in July, 2018, Ericsson announced in September an agreement with T-Mobile to provide the company with hardware and software from their 5G Platform to help deploy T-Mobile's 5G network.

T-Mobile announced in September, 2018, that they had laid the foundation for 5G in over 1,000 cities with their deployment of 600 MHz Extended Range LTE. This is what will push T-Mobile into providing nationwide 5G coverage by 2020.

The company also successfully performed their first low-band 5G signal in Spokane, Washington, in November, 2018. This 600 MHz, low-band 5G test is important because the company plans to provide 5G service to a broad area, which is possible with low-band waves that can deliver 5G to hundreds of square miles from a single tower.

The company plans to use mmWaves for 5G, too, which aren't as far-reaching as the low-band spectrum, but will be useful in specific areas.

T-Mobile launched Poland's first 5G network in December of 2018. However, access to the network is limited to select T-Mobile partners, and only in the center of Warsaw.

In early January, 2019, T-Mobile, Intel, and Ericsson successfully completed the world's first 5G video call and data call on the 600 MHz spectrum. During the tests, it was confirmed that from just one tower, the 5G signal could reach more than a thousand square miles.

As of February 2019, T-Mobile has built out 600 MHz service in over 2,000 cities covering 42 states. The service currently works with LTE devices only, but the towers can be switched over to 5G when 5G devices are available. The company also has 21,000 small cells deployed and plans to erect 20,000 more going into 2020.

T-Mobile's Fixed Wireless Access Service

T-Mobile plans to offer fixed broadband service (over 100 Mbps) to more than half the country’s households by 2024. This presumably hinges on whether they merge with Sprint to create New T-Mobile, but even without a merger, the company might still deliver on its plans.

In this FCC filing, T-Mobile estimates that over 20 percent of its fixed wireless access (FWA) subscribers will be located in rural areas where broadband is difficult to access.

A core promise of New T-Mobile is our commitment to bring real competition and real choice for in-home broadband to rural America.

Currently called New T-Mobile Home Internet, the company plans to offer "broadband in a box" via an easy-to-install router. The FWA plan from T-Mobile will not lock you into an annual contract, might be cheaper than what most people pay now (possibly around or under $80 /month) and will charge nothing for the router or installation.

T-Mobile will start trials on their LTE network using a 4G router (in limited areas), but will upgrade customers to 5G hardware when the next-gen network is usable.