As carriers like Verizon and AT&T have spent the past year lighting up individual cities with limited 5G every couple of months, T-Mobile has taken a different approach by holding off until today, where they’ve gone ahead and fired up a nationwide 5G network. That’s right, folks, T-Mobile is likely serving 5G in your neighborhood right now.
We knew this day was coming and there are some things you need to know about T-Mobile’s 5G because as of today, the 5G from T-Mobile isn’t the ultra-fast 5G that we associate with “5G.” This is only the beginning of a longer buildout that will one day bring you download speeds faster than your home internet.
T-Mobile turned on 5G in their 600MHz spectrum, which some may refer to as low-band 5G. Think of it as a backbone for the future of 5G, where the goal here is to give you a solid foundation for 5G as the company works to build out mid-band (this’ll come from Sprint if they merge) and millimeter Wave (mmW) 5G spectrum to complete the 5G package. 5G is complex and won’t be as amazing as we’re told it’ll be for years, though this is a major step.
Why do you want their 5G then? It’ll still be pretty fast, offer a more efficient connection, and give you a taste for the future.
With 600MHz 5G, T-Mobile is able to cover miles upon miles of cities and towns, while the 5G from Verizon and AT&T, which is millimeter Wave (mmW), barely covers a block in a city. T-Mobile’s 5G works through buildings, whereas Verizon and AT&T’s 5G struggles through windows or if you don’t have a direct line of sight to a tower.
To start, T-Mobile says that its 5G network covers 60% of the US population, including 200 million people and more than 5,000 towns (full list).
If interested, do note that there are only two phones that can currently connect to T-Mobile’s 5G network: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G and the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McClaren Edition. Both of those phones are up for pre-order now and should arrive by December 6 for use on the network. Should T-Mobile and Sprint finalize their merger and launch Sprint’s mid-band 5G, these phones will work on that too. Since we’re at launch, you can get the OnePlus 7T Pro for free if you switch over to T-Mobile.
There are no 5G plans from T-Mobile, in case you were wondering how you connect. You just need to live in a 5G area and have a 5G capable phone like the two above. T-Mobile expects to have 15 new 5G phones next year at varying price points.
To get started with T-Mobile 5G, feel free to check out their 5G map.