T-Mobile Prepares to Launch Nation’s First 5G Mobile Service

Columns, News, Opinion

5G is on the horizon, and mobile carriers are starting to finally roll out the technology for consumer use. 2018 has been a busy year for T-Mobile, and they don’t seem to be slowing down just yet. After announcing a merger with Sprint earlier this year and recently rebranding its dated MetroPCS brand, the company is jumping right into 5G deployment. How exactly are they doing this? When can Columbus expect to see T-Mobile’s new 5G service? Also, what does this mean for consumers? All will be discussed below:

How T-Mobile is Deploying its 5G Service

T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray detailing the carrier’s 5G rollout plans. Image: T-Mobile Newsroom

Earlier this year, T-Mobile promised to roll out its 5G service to 30 cities by the end of 2018. Unlike its competitors AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile is stressing that its form of 5G service will be focused on smartphones first and foremost, with other devices such a hotspots and 5G broadband connections to follow. T-Mobile also has mentioned that its form of 5G will be built on top of its existing LTE network, with phones in the next few years using both LTE and 5G technologies to pull in data before eventually making the full on switch to 5G. This is different from the previous generation of phones that had to be in either 3G or 4G LTE “mode” not being able to use both antenna technologies at once.

When Will Columbus Get 5G From T-Mobile?

A good bet is to say before the end of the year in 2019. T-Mobile has announced that it is testing and building out the technology in 30 cities this year, but never seems to mention which 30 cities. One can assume the obvious big cities, like Los Angeles and New York, both of which were confirmed by the company, but others are not as clear. I have done extensive Googling, and cannot find a confirmation as to if Columbus is one of those 30 cities. Competitor AT&T is launching its own “5G Evolution” technology in Columbus this year, but critics say that this term “5G Evolution” is actually just marketing speak for a faster version of 4G LTE. Regardless, expect true 5G to start hitting the Columbus market sometime in 2019.

MetroPCS Gets Rebooted with a Focus in 5G

The rebranded Metro by T-Mobile brand promises to be the first pre-paid carrier to offer 5G service next year.

Another big move for T-Mobile this year in preparation to welcome in 5G next year is its rebranding and rebooting of its prepaid brand MetroPCS. The new brand is now called Metro by T-Mobile, and is apparently 5G-focused. The biggest advantage of this renewed version of the Metro by T-Mobile brand is that it claims to be the first prepaid 5G service. Plans that include 5G coverage will start to roll out in 2019, as T-Mobile activates their 5G service in cities across the U.S. and parts of Puerto Rico. T-Mobile has not clarified which plans will come with 5G support, but my guess is that only the more expensive plans ($50 and above) will offer it at first. Another big appeal for this brand is that included in the new $60/month/line plan, members can get access to Amazon Prime (full list of Prime benefits here) as well as Google One Access. What is Google One, you may ask? Essentially, it’s a premium cloud storage/backup service from Google. For more info on the service, click here. With their new plans, Metro by T-Mobile is generally looking like a compelling option for my price point, especially when compared to my current plan with Virgin Mobile (detailed in a convenient chart for viewing pleasure). And with the promise of being first to 5G, it is an exciting time to join the service.

 

Brand Plan Price High-Speed LTE Talk Text Extra Features
Metro by T-Mobile $40 10 GB Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited music streaming data
Virgin Mobile $35 5GB Unlimited Unlimited Member benefits- discounts on select services

 

What About 5G-Ready Phones?

The OnePlus 6T does not have 5G connectivity, despite earlier rumors claiming so. Image: androidcentral.com

We are still waiting on the first bunch of 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market. My prediction is that next year’s high-end flagship phones will support 5G connectivity. Expect devices from the likes of Samsung, Apple, Google, along with a slew of other manufacturers to support 5G technology. An interesting partnership that I thought T-Mobile was going to leverage today was its newly announced partnership with Oneplus, an Android phone manufacturer that has been shaking up the smartphone game just as T-Mobile is shaking up the wireless game. When I heard that the two companies were partnering, I was kind of expecting them to announce a co-branded phone in the OnePlus 6T that supported 5G connectivity and would be available later this year. One can only hope and dream, though, as the 6T does not feature 5G connectivity. Possibly next year with the OnePlus 7, T-Mobile and OnePlus can shake up the smartphone game.

Concluding Thoughts: What’s Next

2018 has been a huge year for T-Mobile, and 2019 should be a year of equal importance for the company. This year, the foundations were set to launch us into the 5G world. Next year and in the years following, expect T-Mobile to continue to shake up the industry with new developments in the 5G technology space. I am interested to see how AT&T and Verizon respond, as they are still numbers 1 and 2 in the cell phone service provider game. Regardless, it is such an exciting time to be a consumer and user of smartphones. Expect a faster,  more information-filled future with 5G to come very soon.

References:

https://www.androidauthority.com/what-to-expect-from-t-mobile-5g-916585/

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/mwc-2018-5g

https://www.t-mobile.com/oneplus?from=carousel

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