T-Mobile to cover 200M people with 5G this year

T-Mobile has been building toward broad 5G on 600 MHz for two years, laying a foundation with 5G-ready equipment. (T-Mobile)

While T-Mobile today announced it will launch the OnePlus 7T 5G McLaren exclusively on its network this year, it also said it will cover 200 million people with its 600 MHz-based 5G service by the end of 2019.  

The “un-carrier” previously said it would launch 600 MHz 5G this year and reach 200 million people sometime in 2020. But it has been aggressively building 600 MHz LTE with 5G-ready equipment since 2017, to the point where it’s now able to reach 200 million people by the end of this year. That will make T-Mobile the first 5G network in the country to deliver on a nationwide basis, according to the company.

Tied to that, the operator also took the opportunity to once again boast that its 600 MHz spectrum is uniquely positioned to reach more people in more places than its rivals’ millimeter wave spectrum. “That means T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network will be able to cover more people in more places and work indoors and out, unlike the competitors' current 5G networks, which can be blocked by things like walls, glass and leaves,” T-Mobile said.

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A common refrain at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles, where T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray is scheduled to participate in a CTO round table today, is that 5G will require, low-, mid- and high-and spectrum. During a keynote on Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai noted how much spectrum his commission has released for 5G so far but did not have any news on the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, or C-band, although it’s still expected to land on the commission’s agenda before the end of the year. Mid-band spectrum, which Sprint has a lot of, has been hard to come by for others. 

In its release today, T-Mobile said 600 MHz is just the start of the journey to “5G for All” and with Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum, the New T-Mobile will have the ability to add critical depth for broad coverage and performance—as well as mmWave spectrum for hotspot-like coverage in dense urban areas.

“Only this combination will deliver a 5G network with both breadth and depth, something the carriers simply cannot do as quickly,” T-Mobile proclaimed. “The stakes are high for the U.S., as billions in economic growth and jobs are expected to come from 5G and the innovations it will unleash."

RELATED: T-Mobile, Dish entice Colorado to drop its merger opposition

Earlier this week, the state of Colorado announced it was dropping out of the lawsuit by states seeking to block T-Mobile's merger with Sprint. The Colorado Attorney General’s office revealed that T-Mobile has promised to significantly build out a statewide 5G network, particularly in rural areas.

Within six years of the closing date, New T-Mobile has promised to have deployed a 5G network in Colorado with at least 92% of the Colorado population having access to download speeds of 100 Mbps; and at least 74% of the state’s rural population having access to those same download speeds.

This deal is similar to the promises T-Mobile made to Mississippi, a state that's also concerned about wireless coverage in its rural areas.

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