T-Mobile 5G: When & Where You Can Get It (Updated for 2021)

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

T-Mobile customers have had access to a 5G network in the US since June of 2019. Since then, it's expanded nationwide to reach thousands of cities and millions of people.

The company's not only rolling out mobile 5G 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, also offers 5G access.

Picture of the T-Mobile logo.
T-Mobile USA, Inc.

What makes T-Mobile's 5G deployment different from other telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T, is their use of low-band and mid-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 launched 5G across 5,000 US cities and towns on December 2, 2019. Here are some later rollouts:

The low-band network (also called Extended Range 5G) currently covers over 7,500 cities and towns, and mid-band (aka Ultra Capacity 5G) has reached hundreds of cities. See their 5G coverage map for details.

T-Mobile 5G Plan Details

The company says that while a 5G capable device is required in order to access their 5G network, a new plan or feature isn't necessary. This means you just need a 5G-compatible phone from T-Mobile to get on the network. See their plans here.

T-Mobile Connect is another way you can get 5G from T-Mobile. This plan runs for just $15 per month with unlimited talk and text and 2 GB of high-speed data. For $25 per month, the data portion goes up to 5 GB. It also offers an annual data upgrade of 500 MB per month for five years.

Connecting Heroes Initiative is the other offering T-Mobile will have available. This is their 10-year commitment of offering free 5G to all first responders at every public and non-profit state and local police, fire, and EMS agency.

T-Mobile's 5G Phones

Devices from OnePlus, Samsung, and LG are a few of the T-Mobile 5G phones that work on their network. More will become available throughout the year.

T-Mobile 5G Progress

T-Mobile's 5G network currently covers 280 million people. This includes customers in thousands of cities, and millions of people in rural areas.

Download speeds vary depending on the network you're on, but the average for users on the mid-band network is around 300 Mbps, with maximum speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

T-Mobile's Path to 5G

After a multi-billion dollar 5G investment with Nokia was announced in July 2018, Ericsson revealed 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 has pushed T-Mobile into being able to provide nationwide 5G coverage.

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.

They 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.

By February 2019, T-Mobile had built out 600 MHz service in over 2,000 cities covering 42 states. The service worked with LTE devices only, but the towers could be switched over to 5G when 5G devices were available. The company had 21,000 small cells deployed and planned to erect 20,000 more going into 2020.

On August 4, 2020, coverage expanded by 30% and currently reaches 280 million people.

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 move can take place now that they've merged with Sprint.

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.

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