Quick Summary of T-Mobile 5G (Easy To Understand Guide):
- T-Mobile’s Plan Isn’t The Same As Other Carriers
- Why Are They Doing This?
- What Will The Phone Plans Be Like?
- What Will T-Mobile’s Coverage Be Like?
- What Phones Will Be Compatible With Their Updated Network?
5G is coming. And major cellular providers are preparing. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are certainly gearing up and getting ready to roll out this awesome technology.
T-Mobile, however, is the first provider to officially release details about the nature of their nationwide 5G plans. This article dives into the specifics of what we know. We’ll fill you in on what phones will be compatible, specifics concerning coverage, and more.
If you use T-Mobile or have thought about joining their network, save this article for future T-Mobile 5G reference.
1. T-Mobile’s Approach To 5G Isn’t The Same As Other Carriers
To reach the speeds provided by 5G, T-Mobile is going about it differently than some of their competitors. They’re taking hyperlocal mmWave coverage (waves that make 5G possible) and augmenting them. And they’re doing this using low-range bands. By using bands below 1Ghz, they can cover much more area. Unfortunately, this will likely result in speeds a little lower than actual 5G.
However, in theory, this method won’t require anywhere near the infrastructure that the 5G plans of other carriers will. T-Mobile’s method should be able to reach both rural and suburban customers more effectively.
So, basically, T-Mobile’s new service will have better range and penetration than its competitors. But their speed won’t be as fast as true 5G. In fact, it won’t be anywhere near real 5G speeds.
Though we know it’s already been released in 5 cities (Las Vegas, Dallas, New York City, Atlanta, Cleveland), we don’t yet know when they’ll go nationwide with it. But if you’re with T-Mobile, be reassured that they have a plan in place.
2. Why Are They Doing It Like This?
Even though T-Mobile is already referring to their new low-band technology as 5G, the truth is that it isn’t. It’s certainly faster than their current service. That’s for sure. But it doesn’t have the capability to reach the 5G 1gbps range.
Why are they doing this? Well, their choice to jump out of the gate and be a 5G early bird (even though it isn’t real 5G) is likely for a few reasons:
- It allows them to share their new “5G” coverage maps publicly. T-Mobile’s competitors do not have the ability to do that yet. This is because they’re all still trying to figure out their infrastructure challenges associate with true 5G.
- It allows them to capture market share.
- It allows them to buy time. Because they’re starting out with better-but-still-sub-5G speeds, they can acquire customers while simultaneously figuring out their infrastructure until they eventually reach real 5G.
Will their plan pay off? Time will tell.
3. What Will The Phone Plans Be Like?
We don’t know exactly what the plans will be like because T-Mobile hasn’t revealed that information yet. However, we do know one thing. We know that they aren’t charging customers more for upgrading to their “5G” network. At least for 3 years from when they start their new, faster network.
This is, again, assuming that the T-Mobile/Sprint merger takes place.
The T-Mobile / Sprint Merger
T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to merge some time ago. The FCC approved it in Oct 2019. But there are things preventing it from officially happening. For an in-depth look at what’s gone on so far with this merger, click here. It’s not a matter of will it happen. It is a matter of when.
When it does, it will push T-Mobile significantly closer to turning their almost-5G speeds to actual-5G speeds.
4. What Will T-Mobile’s Coverage Be Like?
Remember, when we say 5G as it relates to T-Mobile, it isn’t true 5G. We know we’ve already been over this. But we just wanted to remind you. Okay, going on.
Before the merger, coverage is expected to include around 60% of the US population. Approximately a million sq mi. After the merger, the number of rural residents reached will go up dramatically. It’s expected that about 95% of all rural U.S. residents will be able to get coverage.
This is worth noting because it will represent the first time that rural U.S. residents have experienced anything even remotely close to high speeds on a large scale. Even though it won’t be actual 5G, it’ll be faster than anything they’ve ever gotten in their area. The speeds will be notably better than 4G.
Another great thing that T-Mobile has done in relation to 5G is release coverage maps. This is really putting them ahead of the game. You can look right now at their maps and see what areas have 5G coverage.
5. What Phones Will Be Compatible With Their Updated Network?
There are only four phones that T-Mobile 5G has confirmed to be compatible with their new, upcoming network.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10
- OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition
As of this writing, T-Mobile has not released a price or release date for the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition. Just FYI.
Let’s go over each one.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
- 6.7 inch AMOLED display
- newest Snapdragon 855 chip
- 256 GB of storage
- 8 GB of RAM
- 3 rear lenses (12MP wide / 16 MP ultrawide / 12 MP telephoto)
- Time of flight sensor that measures depth
- Front TOF sensor that allows selfies with depth-augmentation
This phone is expected to be top-tier. Much better than the S10’s that have come before it. T-Mobile hasn’t released the cost yet, but we expect it to be around $1000. Similar to the S10 Plus.
One important thing to know about this phone is that it will only be compatible with T-Mobile’s eventual, actual 5G network. It won’t work with the current low-band version they’ve rolled out. It’ll have fantastic coverage range but it won’t quite have 5G speeds. It’ll still have speeds better than 4G, though.
OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition
- 12 GB RAM
- Snapdragon 855 Plus
- Black and orange color scheme
An interesting fact about this phone is that the standard version (called the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G) is a Sprint phone. But the rights to the McLaren Edition was acquired by T-Mobile.
The McLaren Edition isn’t much different from the non-5G version, as far as we can tell. In fact, it may be identical. But this isn’t a bad thing. It’s a device with lots of power.
This phone is expected to be on the higher end of the price list. But we don’t yet know exactly how much it’ll cost.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G
- 6.8-inch display
- Snapdragon 855 chipset
- 12 GB of RAM
- 256 GB of storage
- Triple rear lens
- TOF camera sensor
This is Samsung’s flagship phone. If you get the extra-sized version, it comes with a really nice stylus, called the S Pen. This is an incredible device. To get it, you have to fork out $1,299 which is a bit much for some. But when T-Mobile officially rolls out its 5G network, there’s probably going to be special offers.
Samsung Galaxy S11 5G
- 3 different sizes (S11 / S11 Plus / S11 Pro)
- 3 different screen sizes (6.2- or 6.4-inch / 6.7-inch / 6.9-inch)
- Snapdragon 865 chipset
- 108-megapixel camera, periscope lens, 5x optical zoom
- TOF camera sensor
- 120Hz AMOLED display
- 5,000-mAh battery
- In-screen fingerprint reader
This phone has not been released yet. But it will almost certainly be released in February 2020. This phone will absolutely be 5G compatible.
It’s safe to assume that as time goes by, more phones will be available that are compatible with T-Mobile 5G.
T-Mobile 5G (The Definitive Guide) – Conclusion
Many tech mags and various online sources appear to agree with one particular notion:
That T-Mobile’s low-band 5G is not going to be a significant enough upgrade from 4G to make waves.
But once the merger with Sprint takes place, everyone agrees that 5G through T-Mobile is going to be great. In the beginning, though, the people who will benefit the most from this will be those who live in rural areas and small cities.
In fact, if you live in a place like this, you should be very excited.
Also, we see a lot of places online recommending to wait until the Feb 2020 release of the Samsung Galaxy S11 5G before buying a phone for the purpose of joining 5G. You’ll have to decide for yourself if that’s something you want to do.
If you have more questions, check out our articles page here, email us, or call us!