We’ve been hearing a lot about 5G service over the past few years and how it is going to change the world. While 5G is certainly a revolution in a macro sense, how is it going to affect you, the wireless consumer? If you’re interested in learning more about T-Mobile 5G service specifically, you’ve come to the right place.
As with the other big wireless carriers in the United States (Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint), T-Mobile is putting a huge priority on rolling out its 5G network as quickly as possible. However, the company has been upfront about the fact that it doesn’t care about being “first” — instead, it wants to deliver the best and most reliable network at the appropriate time.
Therefore, the T-Mobile 5G service might be slightly behind when compared to the competition. Don’t let that make you think about switching providers, though, because the company has some really cool stuff going on right now and the future is looking very bright.
Continue below to learn all about T-Mobile 5G services, phones, and more!
T-Mobile 5G service: The network of the future
Of all the major carriers in the US, T-Mobile might have the best plan when it comes to rolling out 5G service. Verizon and AT&T are relying solely on millimeter wave (mmWave) technology to distribute 5G signals. While mmWave is really fast and offers very low latency, it isn’t great at penetrating buildings. Plants, trees, and even rain can also absorb the signal and weaken it.
To combat this, Verizon and AT&T are focusing on installing short-range cell networks — kind of like a Wi-Fi network extender you would use in your home, but on a much larger scale. These short-range extenders connect with normal cell towers and help distribute mmWave signal in areas where it would be weak, such as crowded cities.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile is instead using its collection of 600MHz spectrum as the foundation of the T-Mobile 5G service. The 600MHz band — sometimes referred to as Band 71 — is much better at penetrating buildings and works well over longer distances. T-Mobile will combine this strategy with the short-range cell strategy that Verizon and AT&T are using to create what could be the nation’s best 5G service.
However, much of the 600MHz band is currently in use by TV stations broadcasting old-school UHF programming. T-Mobile needs to wait until these frequencies are freed up before it can launch a large-scale system. This will make a true T-Mobile 5G network come a bit later than the ones from its competition.
When it does arrive though, 5G will offer blazingly-fast speeds and incredibly low latencies. While fast speeds are an obvious benefit, low latency is what is really going to make 5G change the world. With low latencies over wireless networks, things like autonomous vehicles, delivery drones, robots, and other extremely futuristic tech will be possible.
Where is T-Mobile 5G service active?
Unlike Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, T-Mobile actually advertises exactly where its 5G service is active. You can check for yourself by visiting the T-Mobile 5G coverage map page. Not only will the map tell you which cities are “switched on,” but also the specific parts of those cities where 5G service can likely be found.
Meanwhile, the other three wireless carriers just tell you which cities are active and don’t advertise how much (or how little) of the city is actually covered.
As of right now, these are the places where T-Mobile 5G service is active:
- New York, NY (Manhattan and Brooklyn only)
- Los Angeles, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Dallas, TX
- Cleveland, OH
- Atlanta, GA
The nationwide T-Mobile 5G network is supposed to go live on December 6. It will cover over 200 million people in the US, according to the carrier.
How much does T-Mobile 5G service cost?
If you buy a T-Mobile 5G-capable smartphone right now and connect it to your existing T-Mobile account, you won’t need to pay a penny more for 5G service. As of today, 5G connections have no extra associated costs as long as you are on a T-Mobile unlimited plan (Magenta or Magenta Plus).
What’s more, you can use as much 5G data as you like on those unlimited plans. Of course, you still might get throttled after using 50GB of data, but there won’t be any overage charges.
Obviously, this will likely change in the future. For now, though, the cost of entry for seeing those blazing fast 5G speeds is simply the cost of the 5G phone. See the next section for more on that!
What are the 5G-capable phones you can get at T-Mobile?
There is currently only one T-Mobile 5G smartphone: the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Even though there are plenty of other 5G smartphones available — including Samsung’s own Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G — the only one that will work on T-Mobile is the Galaxy S10 5G.
What’s more, to get the S10 5G phone you’ll need to visit a brick-and-mortar T-Mobile location. The device has an online portal at T-Mobile’s website, but you can’t buy it online.
If you do decide to visit a T-Mobile shop and buy a Galaxy S10 5G, bring plenty of cash: the device starts at $1,099. You can put $350 down on the device and then pay $31.25 per month for 24 months if you can’t afford to drop that much cash all at once.
If you absolutely don’t want to go to a T-Mobile store to buy the S10 5G, you can also buy it online directly from Samsung and even activate it on your T-Mobile account. However, the starting price is even higher: $1,299. Click the button below to grab it.
In the near future, T-Mobile plans to launch the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition. T-Mobile will be the exclusive US carrier for this high-end variant of the OnePlus 7T. It will have a 6.67-inch OLED 90Hz display and inside there will be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of onboard storage. The phone will also have three rear cameras (8MP, 16MP ultra-wide, 8MP 3x telephoto) and a 16MP pop-up selfie camera. It will have a 4,085mAh battery, and the phone will come with a Warp Charge 30T charger, which should charge it up fully in about an hour.
The McLaren Edition will look a bit different compared to the standard OnePlus 7T. It will have an orange stripe around its edges, along with a woodgrain style finish on the back. Pricing and a release date for the phone have yet to be revealed.
What does the future hold?
Over the past year or so, T-Mobile has been hard at work attempting to merge with Sprint. As of right now, the two companies have the regulatory approval necessary for that to happen. The only thing that stands in the way is a series of lawsuits filed by various State Attorneys General. Once those are handled, though, the merger will very likely go through.
When this does happen, the “new” T-Mobile (the merged companies will simply be known as T-Mobile) will not only have all the 5G groundwork it’s laid down for itself, but also the work Sprint has done on its own. This will put T-Mobile in an incredibly advantageous position when it comes to the T-Mobile 5G network.
However, if for some strange reason the merger doesn’t happen (which is an unlikely scenario at this point), T-Mobile will still have plenty of groundwork set for being a viable competitor in the 5G market.