T-Mobile Won't Make Serious Push Into 5G Until Second Half of 2019

T-Mobile won't be making a serious push into launching and promoting its 5G network until the second half of 2019, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in an interview shared by CNET today.

The carrier had initially planned to promote 5G in the first half of 2019, but it is delaying that rollout because smartphones able to take advantage of its 5G network won't be available until later.

tmobile600mhz5g

Image via CNET

According to Ray, T-Mobile had hoped that smartphone makers and chip manufacturers would have 5G devices ready to use the lower-band 600 megahertz spectrum that will power much of its 5G network, but that hasn't quite happened. The company instead plans to "go big" with 5G later in 2019.

The 5G version of the Galaxy S10 from Samsung, which will come in April, offers millimeter wave support compatible with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, but not T-Mobile. T-Mobile is deploying millimeter wave, but coverage at the moment is "too minimal for the company to promote."

T-Mobile is planning to use the 600MHz spectrum to power most of its 5G network because while it offers slower peak speeds, it provides better coverage than the millimeter wave spectrum that Verizon and AT&T are currently focusing on more heavily.

Early 5G devices like the Galaxy S10 5G will use millimeter wave spectrum. T-Mobile plans to sell the Galaxy S10 5G, but given that its millimeter wave deployment is so limited at this time, Ray is not sure the company will promote Samsung's newest smartphone.

CNET's original story suggested T-Mobile was delaying its 5G launch entirely, but Ray says that is not true. On Twitter, Ray clarified that 5G will still start rolling out in the first half of 2019, but that it will get "more meaningful" in the second half of the year when there are actual devices that can take advantage of the 600MHz 5G spectrum.


The network differences put T-Mobile a bit behind other cellular companies. AT&T has rolled out 5G in 12 cities, Verizon has a 5G home broadband service in a limited number of cities, and Sprint is planning to launch its 5G network in May.

T-Mobile isn't worried about AT&T and Verizon having an edge in the race to deploy 5G just because millimeter wave spectrum has such a limited range. "You can't go to a US consumer and charge them a big premium and it works on three street corners," Ray told CNET.

Full 5G rollout with faster overall speeds will require carriers to offer 5G connectivity across multiple spectrums, with the fastest, millimeter wave, limited to dense urban areas. AT&T is also planning to offer 5G on low-band spectrum starting in 2019, with nationwide coverage planned for 2020.

For Apple users, the 2019 rollout of 5G means little because there won't be iPhones able to use 5G networks until at least 2020. Rumors have suggested Apple won't introduce a 5G-capable iPhone in 2019, and Intel recently confirmed that its 5G hardware won't be in consumer products until 2020. Apple is currently using Intel's modem chips in its ‌iPhone‌ lineup due to an ongoing legal spat with Qualcomm.

Tags: T-Mobile, 5G

Top Rated Comments

Lenora Lynn Avatar
43 months ago
Translation: We will wait for ATT and Verizon to pay all the up front costs and swoop in once the tech is mature and commoditized.
Not really, since pretty much no company is doing much rollout in any of 2019.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sedulous Avatar
43 months ago
Who really cares? 5G will not be beneficial for the vast majority of users. If anything, I think T-mobile has the better plan. 600 MHz spectrum may be slower but at least it can pass through a wall. So unlike the Verizon and AT&T, T-mobile might actually have a more reliably decent signal. Gigabit speeds on mobile is useless if it cannot be received.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlocker Avatar
43 months ago
The real reason is T-Mobile and Sprint are about to merge and you don't want to spend a lot of money on 5G hardware when you are going to be using sprint towers as the infrastructure and spend a bunch of money on hardware all over again.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
43 months ago
At 28-39 GHz in the US, which translates to only few hundred feet of usable range, mmWave is meaningful only in very densely populated metro cities, or top 50 markets (if at that).

mmWave spectrum holdings by top US carriers:

* AT&T: 39 GHz (30% of top 50 markets)
* Sprint: None
* T-Mobile: 28 GHz (12% of top 50 markets)
* Verizon: 28 GHz (76% of top 50 markets) and 39 GHz (46% of top 50 markets)

Sprint is betting on 2.5 GHz and T-Mobile is betting on 600 MHz. Neither will offer as much bandwidth as mmWave, which is why they want to merge so that they can leverage Carrier Aggregation (combining multiple frequencies). If Sprint and T-Mobiles does merge, the combined 5G spectrum can be very effective and superior to AT&T and Verizon's 5G offering.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
btrach144 Avatar
43 months ago
I’d prefer richer LTE rather than spotty 5G.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
archer75 Avatar
43 months ago
Do you currently have 5G at home?

I think 5G fixed wireless access will have a much greater impact for the average user than 5G mobile.
absolutely agree. 5g for mobile is severely overrated. But it will change the home internet landscape.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
iphone 13 pro max display bleen

iPhone 14 Max Reportedly Weeks Behind Schedule [Updated]

Thursday May 26, 2022 7:25 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Max is currently behind schedule by around three weeks, according to Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu. Yesterday, Nikkei Asia reported that at least one iPhone 14 model was three weeks behind schedule due to the impact of lockdowns on Apple's supply chains in China, but it was not clear which iPhone 14 model this related to. Now, Pu has clarified that the model...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5.1 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Wednesday May 25, 2022 9:42 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5.1, a minor update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5.1 comes about 10 days after the launch of tvOS 15.5. tvOS 15.5.1 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌‌‌ owners who have automatic software updates...