T-Mobile may have gotten off to an early start with a mid-band 5G rollout and making sure that a couple of hundred million people could access it. They don’t plan to slow down expansion, though, especially now that Verizon and AT&T are going to do everything they can to quickly catch-up using C-Band spectrum.
For 2022, T-Mobile plans to triple the coverage of their best 5G, which is the mid-band 5G they grabbed from Sprint during their merger. When I say “coverage” there, I’m referring to the area that T-Mobile covers with mid-band 5G, not necessarily people. The goal is to triple the area covered, while making sure millions more can find access too.
While speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference this week (via PCMag), T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray talked about they’ll have to basically increase coverage 3x this year in order to get a fraction of new people covered saying, “we did 3x last year, and we have to do 3x again to get to that 260.” He’s talking about jumping from the 200 million people mark in 2021 to 260 million by the end of 2022.
That massive coverage jump will have to happen as T-Mobile expands into rural areas. They already cover most cities with their mid-band 5G, which they call Ultra Capacity 5G, so the idea that a massive coverage expansion only gets a fraction of the new people they saw last year, makes sense. T-Mobile is ripe for rural expansion too, saying this week that a third of new accounts are coming from rural areas.
2022 finally feels like the year that 5G will make a difference in the US. If you are on T-Mobile and live near a city, the chances of your accessing their Ultra Capacity 5G are quite good. It’s all over Portland already and incredibly fast. If you live outside a big city, prepare to experience this goodness.