T-Mobile + Sprint promise to offer peak 5G speeds up to 4.1 Gbps

T-Mobile 5G
Absent the transaction, neither company alone has the cell sites, spectrum and spectral efficiency gains to match New T-Mobile. (FierceWireless)

T-Mobile is promising to change the world as we know it—if and only if it is allowed to combine with Sprint—by offering amazing peak 5G data speeds up to 4.1 Gbps and average speeds of about 444 Mbps.

“By 2021 our engineers are planning to deliver 5G speeds 5X faster than the LTE speeds being delivered on the nation’s fastest LTE network today; … that is of course the T Mobile network,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere wrote in a blog today. “That will unlock amazing applications and uses, many of which we can’t even conceive of today. It will make possible real-time interactivity from virtually anywhere, allowing for near instantaneous sharing and downloading of content from almost any location.”

Legere said plans call for investing nearly $40 billion in the business and network over the next three years alone, an amount that represents more than either T-Mobile or Sprint had planned to invest on its own.  

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In a filing with the FCC (PDF), the companies say that the combined New T-Mobile will be able to provide more competitive offerings in the marketplace, such as unlimited data, at much higher data rates.

T-Mobile data
T-Mobile and Sprint say their combination will result in dramatic improvements in data rates to consumers. (FCC filing)

In addition, the greater available capacity will enable New T-Mobile to compete directly against other types of wired broadband providers and deliver additional consumer benefits, including higher quality video streaming, faster data downloads and new applications such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

Although the amounts of projected 5G monthly available capacity for T-Mobile and Sprint as separate entities are redacted, they list the 5G monthly available capacity at 6.8 exabytes by 2021 for customers of the New T-Mobile and 20.1 exabytes by 2024.

“Absent this transaction, neither company alone would have the cell sites, spectrum, and spectral efficiency gains needed to drive the increased capacity available to New T-Mobile,” they said in the filing.

Of course, New T-Mobile will leverage the variety of spectrum at its disposal to deploy more spectrum per cell site to more cell sites throughout the network. Both companies have 1.9 GHz spectrum, but Sprint specifically has a trove of 2.5 GHz spectrum and T-Mobile has its newer 600 MHz, plus other spectrum. 

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Both AT&T and Verizon have announced 5G deployments planned for this year, but New T-Mobile argues that they rely on their significant millimeter wave band holdings and are not true nationwide 5G networks because they lack coverage outside the most densely populated areas.

Neither of those carriers has yet announced plans to extend 5G coverage to rural markets, which, New T-Mobile says, would require that they refarm low- and midband spectrum away from 4G LTE users and potentially require cell splitting or new investments in spectrum.

“These announced 5G plans pale in comparison to New T-Mobile’s proposed deployment of 5G services to two-thirds of the U.S. population with data rates greater than 100 Mbps by 2021,” the filing states.