Skip to main content

T-Mobile Wants to Offer 5G — But is it Just a Publicity Stunt?

* T-Mobile announces plans for 5G network
* Focus isn’t on speed, but on broader coverage around the country
* T-Mobile is currently nation’s third-largest carrier

T-Mobile has unveiled plans to offer service across a 5G network, but its competitors are calling BS on the claims.

T-Mobile, the nation’s third-largest carrier, said it would build out its next-generation wireless network using the radio airwaves it just purchased in a government auction. The goal is to get to a 5G network, though the focus wouldn’t be on speed, but rather on providing broader coverage across the country.

Still, the plan would make T-Mobile the first carrier to offer 5G service, with the company also able to claim the first nationwide 5G network. In addition to expanded coverage, the thinking is that 5G would run on more efficient technology, that would make it easier to manage all your apps, streaming services and messaging at the same time — across all your T-Mobile devices.

T-Mobile’s competitors say the move is just a publicity stunt, accusing the company of using 5G to get customers excited, without really offering faster speeds.

Sprint says the newly-acquired low and mid-band spectrums that T-Mobile plans on using, can’t really generate speed for voice networks. “[Customers] are best-served with high-band spectrum that can move large volumes of data at very fast speeds,” Sprint said in a statement.

Verizon, meantime, said, “Rather than compete by doing, some prefer to compete with tweets and PR.” Verizon had previously announced it would begin 5G tests in 11 U.S. cities this year.

AT&T declined to comment, though they have also been testing 5G service.

T-Mobile expects to roll out the new network in 2019, with the goal of offering full 5G service by 2020. The company says they will dedicate some of the new 600 MHz spectrum they just won to first improving LTE speeds, before expanding them to 5G nationwide.