T-Mobile's Full 600MHz 5G Network Launches Second Half Of 2019
T-Mobile has been talking up its new 600MHz 5G network that will give coverage using different types of bandwidths around the nation. T-Mobile has stated that its 5G network needs all spectrum bands to provide the best coverage. The company says that its millimeter wave (mmWave) tech is for dense urban areas, mid-band is for metropolitan areas, and the low-band is for nationwide coverage. T-Mobile had hoped that the network would be ready to launch, but announced at MWC 2019 that the full launch won't happen until the second half of 2019.
The reason for the second half of 2019 launch isn't that T-Mobile is having an issue with its network or the network hardware; rather, no phones on the market supports its full network spectrum. Specifically, there is no smartphone out there that supports T-Mobile's critical low-band 600MHz spectrum, which is the spectrum that will power most of the 5G network early on. The first demonstration call on that 600MHz network happened at CES 2019.
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said at MWC 2019 that the company was hopeful a device would be available, but that device isn't here yet. Ray says that the 5G service will launch in the second half of 2019 in 30 U.S. cities. Devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will work with higher-frequency 5G networks and will land first on the Verizon Wireless network. T-Mobile competition from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all have networks compatible with that Galaxy device, as does T-Mobile itself. However, since the S10 5G doesn't support T-Mobile's critical 600MHz frequency, the carrier will have the phone in the first half of 2019 but says it may not promote the device.
T-Mobile sees the Verizon and AT&T networks as inferior because they rely on mmWave technology. That tech has the potential for higher speeds than T-Mobile's 600 MHz network, but it has limited range. Ray noted you can't charge consumers a "big premium" and deliver a service that works on three street corners. Ray offered no comment on the company that would make the phone supporting the 600 MHz network.