T-Mobile says 5G will be 25-50 percent faster than LTE to start

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Lots of people are excited for 5G and the faster speeds that it’ll bring, but today T-Mobile cautioned that speeds may not be as ultra-fast as some people expect at the start.

T-Mobile estimates that its 5G network will start at around 25-50 percent faster than its 4G LTE network. “Initially, we didn’t see gigabit speeds on LTE; we saw very low speeds. But today we see much higher than that,” said Karri Kuoppamaki, VP of radio network technology development and strategy at T-Mobile. “It’s kind of irrelevant what [the speed] number is going to be on day one, as it will improve over time.”

Kuoppamaki also touched a bit on millimeter wave spectrum, which is one of the types of spectrum that T-Mo will use for its 5G network. “900 feet. If that’s your cell radius, that’s about 0.1 square miles, and the continental US is over 3 million square miles.”

In addition to the mmWave spectrum, T-Mobile has said that it’ll use 600MHz spectrum for its 5G coverage. The 600MHz spectrum is better for covering great distances while the mmWave goes shorter distances but allows for faster speeds. The good news is that even though T-Mobile’s 5G may not be as fast as some people expect it to be initially, it will still be a bit speedier than the 4G LTE network, so it’s definitely still worth looking forward to.

T-Mobile has said that it plans to begin building out its 5G coverage in 30 U.S. cities in 2018. Some of those cities include New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas.

Kuoppamaki also reiterated today that T-Mobile will continue to develop its 4G LTE network while it rolls out its 5G coverage. “LTE and 5G, they’re conjoined technology twins that will happily coexist in the foreseeable future.”

Source: PCMag

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  • Frankwhitess

    To be honest, am currently downloading at around 130 mbps with T Mobile… I don’t see any need to download any faster . 130 mbps is wayyyyyyy more than what I need … Hell, my internet at home is downloading at a weak 70 mbps and there is always 4 to 5 people connected at all times either watching Netflix or downloading porn and we all have No problems with our home internet …

    Just putting my $0.03 in the bucket.

    • (J²)

      Exactly, some people can’t even get these speeds from their ISP yet. I also don’t mind patiently waiting.

      I’d rather them introduce it nationwide and improve it rather than focusing on “key” testing markets like LA and NYC and stacking the deck in a few places. This is what we’ve seen in the past.

      • riverhorse

        Take your time but hurry up.

      • SirStephenH

        T-Mobile hasn’t been dragging its feet on widely distributing improvements like the other carriers do. They’ve been deploying technologies nationwide generally within two years of working out the kinks in their testing markets.

    • DannyMac

      It’s just the improvement and refining of technology. Right now, that tower isn’t very busy or has a nice chunk of spectrum to handle the load, but as more people connect to that tower or rely less on Wi-Fi, bandwidth will go down. 5G offers lower latency and more bandwidth. Technology is all about doing more with less.

      • slybacon

        And as Wifi usage goes down, LAA usage will go up!

    • Greg Victor

      I’m averaging about 125 Mbps down in my neck of the woods. I’ve been getting those speeds for a bout a year with no signs of slowing down.

    • SirStephenH

      Something that many people seem to forget is that increased speed also equals increased capacity. As T-Mobile grows it’ll need more capacity and besides, 130Mbps may be more than enough for you today but who knows if it’ll be enough 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

    • slybacon

      Haha! I love it.

  • (J²)

    I’d rather them introduce it nationwide and improve it rather than
    focusing on “key” testing markets like LA and NYC and stacking the deck
    in a few places. This is what we’ve seen in the past.

    • riverhorse

      Easier to iron out kinks in smaller concentrated area than everywhere at once.

      • (J²)

        True but that’s what the testing phase is for. That’s what should be happening now. If I recall correctly, T-Mobile is testing in the city of it’s corporate office.

        What the carriers did in the race to 4G/LTE was target metro areas with huge populations. Unfortunately, while it’s great everyone else doesn’t live in a city with an 8 million population.

        They were focused on dominating markets, not providing coverage to all (or most) Americans.

        • SirStephenH

          They, just like every other carrier, were focused on providing improvements to the most people possible in the least amount of time. Unfortunately this means densely populated areas are normally first.

        • (J²)

          Well, T-Mobile wasn’t exactly part of that movement as it fell behind due to a lack of spectrum in other markets. As you can see by another announcements, T-Mobile is beefing up signal speed and strength everywhere not just in populated areas which IS what the other carriers (mainly Verizon and AT&T) do.

    • slybacon

      They said they would go nationwide in late 2019 or 2020.

  • aglee89

    Cool so now I can get 1.5mbps now

  • PC_Tool

    Just noticed that T-Mo buries the needle on Google’s speed test here in Lakeville, MN now.

    Very nice. Hopefully it’ll expand (area-wise) a bit soon.

  • Jason Caprio

    If T-Mobile is saying their “5G” network will only be 25-50% faster than 4G LTE, then it’s not 5G. According to the 5G specification, it is supposed to yield speeds of 1gbps up to 10gbps.

    • riverhorse

      INITIALLY. Before getting into 5g, some folks are reporting 1/2 gig speeds just from the present LTE updates
      The larger problem is there’s only like 3/4 models that support all the latest tmo lte updates, never mind 5g.

    • LAGURL22

      Well it is already faster than At&t and Verizon so 25 to 50 percent faster, I ain’t complaining here . What i think they should do instead is work on coverage because that the other 2 have more . But in places were they all 3 have lte tmobile is usually the faster one . Only in coverage is where the other 2 win . Like if you travel by car the other two will have u more covered .

    • slybacon

      5G is not a speed. It’s a technology. More efficient data packet delivery.
      What were the speed requirements for LTE to be LTE? None. Any speed on LTE is still LTE.
      Where does the 3GPP require 5G to hit a minimum speed of 1Gbps?
      And if LTE exceeds 1Gbps, does that means it’s really 5G? No.

  • VernonDozier

    Finally! A phone network that can reliably support fax.

    Neville Ray will FINALLY be able to send pot-shot tweets using fax services from the back seat of his car in remote areas like Dubuque, Iowa instead of carrier-pigeon.

    An amazing feat of engineering, and an overall increase in productivity!

    • slybacon

      You’re funny. Are you from Mars? If not, maybe Elon Musk should send you there.

    • KMB877

      2G/ EDGE is enough for fax communication. Only one thing, you need an adapter (the mobile telephony is digital and the fax is analog). And, for a fax you need also a dial tone.
      I had a fax installed into my work truck about 10 years ago…

  • GinaDee

    Sounds like Neville is trying to severely lower expectations since he does not posses the high band spectrum needed to offer speeds like Verizon is planning to offer at launch.

    We may finally see the last days of T-Mobile winning speed tests. Sad.

    • LAGURL22

      Well what’s good is high band for if once u go in a building it’s gonna fall back to the other lower band ? From what I heard high band don’t penetrate buildings that good sure it might be faster outside but go inside and it’s gonna crap out .

      • slybacon

        Exactly. Verizon and AT&T customers used to make fun of T-Mobile customers for only having access to “mid band” spectrum. Now Verizon and AT&T think they will build 5G using only “high band” spectrum. Good luck to them.

        • LAGURL22

          Thanks you! And yes I remember At&t and Verizon people making fun of tmobile because of that , now it’s gonna be them loosing 5G signal inside buildings because of the high band they will be using and dropping down to regular lte or 3G , while tmobile will be using 600mhz which will deff penetrate buildings better since it’s much lower .

        • Phil7474

          Exactly!

    • bkat11

      I’ll believe it when I see it with Verizon…they are depending more on people using their paid broadband internet services to power these “pucks” because mmWave is such short range.

    • slybacon

      Did you see how far the “high band” spectrum travels? 900 feet. To cover the entire USA area with this “high band”, you would need 30 million towers! No way Verizon would do that. They have no other spectrum to use for 5G other than “high band” anyway Good luck to Verizon getting 5G to a mobile state.

      • Joshua Lee

        No… Neville was talking about millimeter wave spectrum. That’s all unlicensed super high spectrum. Much higher than what Verizon owns

        • slybacon

          Millimeter wave is not unlincenced. Verizon just bought licenses. T-Mobile just bought licenses. AT&T bought licenses. The only spectrum that is unlicensed is WiFi spectrum (2400 MHz and 5000 MHz)

    • Phil7474

      They are having a high band spectrum auction later this year. Tmo might be interested in that even though they just purchased a ton of 600mhz spectrum. Low band spectrum t-mobile has got that covered. They just need to depdep it. Adding high band spectrum would help push the speeds.

    • vinnyjr

      Don’t be so sure. Verizon says allot but doesn’t deliver. I had them for years. Constantly dropping from LTE to 3G, that is unacceptable in todays modern Networks. I don’t live in a small town, love in a huge suburb of Boston. T-Mobile will figure it out.

      • James Smith

        In my experience I have found that it is T-Mobile, not Verizon that is the one not delivering.

        And this isn’t just in one city either.

  • Matt

    Speed is meaningless without discussing latency. Mobile broadband still has fairly high latency when compared with cable, DSL, or FTTH.

    • slybacon

      5G tech should take care of the latency (over time).

    • Acdc1a

      Ping is 18-25ms most places. That’s quite acceptable.

    • DStudio

      “Meaningless” is misleading. For some applications latency barely matters; for others it is critical.

      But you make a good point. Latency can be a good indication of the quality of the network. Sprint tends to do well here (but has the least traffic, which helps); T-Mobile has become pretty good in recent years.

      Speedtest’s ping measurements are historically very optimistic; I’m not sure they’re much better today. You need to measure ping for a few minutes to get a good representation.

  • Brandon

    T-Mobile has definitely been on their grind when it comes to upgrades to the network. Just continue to expand coverage where their currently isn’t, and everything will be excellent.

  • vinnyjr

    Not very excited with merger. It probably won’t get OK’d.

  • Jim Bruer

    In the middle of the 13th largest metro in the U.S., latency around 60 ms, and speeds of 10 Mbps (on a good day) with 9’sih up. .. So can look forward to ’15’ instead of 10? .. Not impressed, TMo … Still loyal, for other reasons, but not impressed.

    • LAGURL22

      I’m in a top market too ,in Los Angeles and T-Mobile here is 50 to 100 on the regular . Verizon on the other hand is 5 to 10 mbps average. At&t is faster too same as tmobile 50 to 100 mbps. U would think Verizon would be better than the other 2 but it’s actually slower tmobile and At&t are faster here .

      • DStudio

        I’m south of LA. Verizon gets too congested. They’ll fix that (by increasing capacity) for about 6-12 mos, then get congested for the following 6-12 mos., then fix it again and start the cycle all over.

        T-Mobile and Verizon are about equal where I am, but sometimes Verizon is simply awful. I found yet another spot last week (coffee store) where Verizon was 0.5 mbps and T-Mobile was over 100.

        With Verizon (as with T-Mobile) you definitely want the latest equipment, supporting all the bands plus CA.

  • Philip

    How about when network is congested, how much faster is the speed?

  • Petey07

    Should I hold off on upgrading my phone until those bands are available on the phones?

  • DStudio

    I now suspect this unusual sounding news story (from a spokesman I’m not familiar with) is for the sake of the regulators, not the public. T-Mobile probably wants to underplay their performance so they still “need” the Sprint spectrum to compete with AT&T and Verizon’s upcoming higher frequency 5G networks.

    Sprint largely underutilizes their spectrum, but in places where bands 25 and 41 are well deployed it really flys. If T-Mobile combines their huge new 600MHz holdings with both their and Sprints high frequency bands they can potentially have great 5G coverage *and* speed.

    • WittyPixel

      there is no underplay. ATT & Verizon have both been hoarding spectrum for years already.

      think of it like keep 100$ reserve so you can one day one day be richer/better then someone else.