Not one to miss out on an opportunity to bash Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile in particular brandished the knives for Verizon when it announced today that T-Mobile has lit up a nationwide 5G network covering more than 200 million people and more than 5,000 cities and towns across the country.
“The carriers have been over-hyping 5G for years now, setting expectations beyond what they can deliver. When Verizon says #5GBuiltRight, they must mean sparse, expensive and limited to outdoors only,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile President of Technology, in a statement. “Meanwhile at T-Mobile, we built 5G that works for more people in more places, and this is just the start.”
T-Mobile has been calling out both AT&T and Verizon for their 5G strategies, saying their services only work in parts of some cities and that they don’t specify how many square miles they cover. But it seems to have its sights set especially on Verizon, which for years has held on to bragging rights for the consistency of its network performance.
A big part of T-Mobile's 5G story is its spectrum. While it has used the same type of millimeter wave spectrum to deliver 5G that the bigger carriers use, T-Mobile is staking its claim in the low-band 600 MHz as the prime way of covering more of America. That said, AT&T announced last month it’s going to be using 850 MHz next year for 5G, and Verizon also is expected to use low, mid and high-band spectrum, although it's in big need of a mid-band play.
In today's announcement, T-Mobile points out that its service works indoors and goes through walls. “Verizon 5G gets blocked by things like walls, windows and leaves,” said T-Mobile. Also: “Verizon forces customers to pay $10 more per month for 5G or use a more expensive plan. AT&T just forces customers into their most expensive plans.”
T-Mobile published an interactive, zoomable 5G map at www.t-mobile.com/5Gmap, so customers can see where they’ll get 5G coverage, down to their neighborhoods. T-Mobile also is taking credit for forcing Verizon to publish 5G coverage maps—the “un-carrier” relentlessly aimed its “VerHIDEzon.com campaign” at its rival in the name of promoting greater carrier transparency.
“5G is here on a nationwide scale. This is a HUGE step towards 5G for All,” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere in a statement. “While Dumb and Dumber focus on 5G for the (wealthy) few, launching in just a handful of cities — and forcing customers into their most expensive plans to get 5G — we’re committed to building broad, deep nationwide 5G that people and businesses can access at no extra cost with the New T-Mobile … and today is just the start of that journey.”
Of course, if T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint is allowed to close, the New T-Mobile promises to do so much more to deliver “transformational broad and deep 5G for All.” Metro by T-Mobile is due to launch nationwide prepaid 5G this month. The future of prepaid and ensuring 5G service for low-income people are some of the biggest concerns of states opposed to the merger.
T-Mobile's infrastructure vendors are Nokia and Ericsson. It's not naming markets that each vendor supports, according to a spokesman, but it did recently announce $3.5 billion deals with each of them.
T-Mobile is talking about its two new 5G “superphones,” the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren and the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which are available for pre-order; the devices will be in stores on Dec. 6. They’re being offering for qualified customers via T-Mobile’s equipment installment plans; the total retail price of the phones are $899.99 and $1,299.99, respectively.
T-Mobile also is giving customers the chance to get the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren for free with 24 bill credits when they switch to T-Mobile and trade in an eligible phone. Alternatively, they can get a Note10+ 5G for free with 36 bill credits when buying another and adding a line.
Both phones tap into T-Mobile’s 600 MHz network where available and T-Mobile’s advanced nationwide LTE network elsewhere, but they’re also ready to use Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum should the merger happen.
Article updated Dec. 3 with corrected offer on Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.