T-Mobile has finally launched its 5G network in the US. The telecoms company says that its network is now live in most parts of the country and it will reach nearly 200 million people.
The first two devices that can support the 5G network reached retail this week. T-Mobile’s nationwide network will rely on a much slower form of the 5G technology. It will be leveraging the company’s 600 MHZ spectrum, which is relatively slower.
It is, however, faster than 4G. In essence, this technology takes airwaves, similar to the ones available for LTE, and puts them together using innovative new technology to enhance overall speeds. Although T-Mobile says that the network will be relatively faster than anything you are used to, the company is not offering specific numbers on the kind of speed we should expect.
The company also noted that the speeds may vary depending on the location. In some areas of the US, customers may see a noticeable increase in speed but in others, the difference will be too small to tell.
5G networks have been available in the US for quite some time but they haven’t been able to reach nationwide coverage. T-Mobile is the first company to have a 5G network available across the country.
The company’s LTE-like spectrum which can travel relatively longer and cover large swaths of land makes this possible. But it’s important to note that this isn’t nearly the full 5G experience. Even though the company says that it has a 5G network across the country, there are ways to explore to make the network even faster.
However, faster waves (known as mmWaves) that lead to faster Internet speeds are very difficult to launch over longer distances. They can also be blocked by anything, leading to unreliable signals. Despite this, T-Mobile is already testing these faster airwaves in select cities across the US.
Only a small number of customers have access to the mmWave 5G network right now. We are not sure if the company intends to fully expand the network countrywide. But even if it decides to do that, the logistics and costs of getting it done will be huge.
Some experts also argue that, since faster 5G mmWaves don’t travel over longer distances, it’s very likely that they will remain confined in high-density population centers. This allows telecom companies to provide access to faster 5G networks to millions of people even with its physical limitations. Supported devices for the 5G network will also start selling days after the network goes live.
T-Mobile notes that it is selling two compatible devices - the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G and the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition. The OnePlus 7T will be selling for $899.99 while the Galaxy Note 10 will be going for $1,299.99. Even though these phones can connect to the 600 MHz network, they won’t support the faster mmWave.