T-Mobile has launched its new “5G for All” network ahead of schedule, but let’s hold the applause for now. The 5G network will cover more than one million square miles and over 200 million people. This is great news for customers in more rural areas who have not yet benefited from the introduction of 5G networks. But, as exciting as the idea of a nation-wide 5G network is, there are still some wrinkles to iron out.
The 5G is less powerful than other networks.
A major limitation of the T-Mobile network is that it is “low-band” with only 600MHz 5G. In comparison, AT&T and Verizon can offer customers much faster 5G coverage, but the trade-off is these are only available in certain pockets, mainly in metro areas. Depending on what kind of service you’re currently working with, the “low-band” 5G could either be a nice change or a total waste of money. Even though T-Mobile says their 5G plans will cost the same as standard LTE plans, there is a financial barrier to entry, but more on that later.
T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint is still not official.
T-Mobile is currently in negotiations to merge with Sprint which will enable them to add Sprint’s 5G spectrum (2.5 GHz) to their network. This would add tremendous value to their customers in terms of speed and service range. With both networks combined T-Mobile will be much closer to fulfilling their dream of creating a 5G network for all.
You need a 5G compatible phone to access the network.
Even if the merger does close and T-Mobile does succeed in launching a powerful 5G network across the nation, you wouldn’t notice unless you had the right tech. In order to reap the benefits of the 5G network, customers will need a shiny, new 5G-enabled phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10+5G.
The theory of a nation-wide 5G service is appealing, but we’re still a way off from seeing this dream to fruition. Until T-Mobile can figure out these issues, customers should exercise patience and hold onto their current phones.