T-Mobile 5G network now expected to launch in the second half of 2019


We’ve been expecting to see T-Mobile flip the switch on its 5G network in the first half of 2019, but now it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer.

T-Mobile is now planning to launch its 5G network in the second half of 2019. T-Mo CTO Neville Ray confirmed the delay to CNET, saying that he’d hoped that the companies making phones and chipsets would be ready to make devices compatible with 600MHz spectrum, which T-Mobile plans to use for its 5G network. However, those devices aren’t expected later this year.

T-Mobile will sell the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which it’s said will launch this summer. That devices supports millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, which T-Mo also plans to use for its 5G network. That spectrum offers high speeds but over shorter distances, though, while 600MHz offers slower peak speeds but greater reach. Ray said that while T-Mobile will sell the Galaxy S10 5G, it may not market the benefits since its mmWave deployment is limited.

T-Mo has been building out its 5G coverage in 30 cities across the U.S., including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas. Now we know that we’ll have to wait longer than expected to jump on that network. The news is disappointing for sure, but it’s likely that T-Mobile is delaying its 5G launch because it doesn’t want to advertise its 5G network and 5G phones, but then have consumers relying on shorter range mmWave spectrum to get that 5G coverage. Instead, it’ll wait to formally launch its 5G network in the latter half of the year when phones that can tap into the longer range 600MHz spectrum will be available.


UPDATE: T-Mobile contacted TmoNews with more information on its 5G plans. The carrier says that there is no 5G network delay and that today’s news is referring to its 600MHz 5G coverage. While 5G devices that support 600MHz won’t launch until later in 2019, T-Mobile still plans to launch 5G using other spectrum in the first half of the year.

Source: CNET

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  • Ascertion

    Am I the only one with extremely low expectations of 5G? I feel like with how fragile the airlink is, it’s going to be only accessible with clear view of the cell tower/antennas, meaning you’ll fall back to 2G/3G indoors still.

    • LTE

      • Ascertion

        LTE is great, but 2G/3G still offer better indoor coverage due to their links not being as fragile, even on similar/same frequencies.

    • Tim Hotze

      I’ve got high expectations of 5G as a technology, I just don’t care about it on my phone (for now). In the long run, as more devices (phones, tablets/laptops with modems, IoT devices, etc.) compete for limited frequency space, 5G will enable networks to keep up with demand that’d destroy 4G.

      The big application I care about for 5G is fixed wireless Internet, since it has a chance to finally provide real alternatives to DSL/cable for a lot of people.

      Having said that, I think the advantages of 5G (faster speeds, lower latency) will outweigh the drawbacks (limited device selection, higher battery usage, need for more antennas combining to mean 5G will probably only be in larger phones) for at least the next 1-2 years. It wouldn’t surprise me if, say, Apple holds off on releasing a 5G iPhone until 2021/2022. I use Android, but I think Apple has done a good job of adding cell technologies only after they’re very mature.

    • Acdc1a

      5G is a game changer for capacity. Will it be able to replace home/commercial broadband? That’s the real question. If it can you’re going to have real competition for high speed internet. We were promised this with 4G LTE, but as things such as streaming everything came into play it became apparent that there simply wasn’t enough capacity to make it happen.

  • Robert Roll

    i would save your money on the S10 5G version… from what i read it will have the x50 modem which only supports 5g in the mmWave bands and not the Sub 6Ghz which would be your 600mhz… wait for a X55 modem that supports both

    • slybacon

      I agree.

    • Trevnerdio

      The X50 does have support for Sub-6GHz. https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon-x50-5g-modem

      It just looks like there will be some nifty LTE bandwidth sharing with the X55

      EDIT: Damn, I missed that this chip won’t be able to do FDD or TDD, so it’s not compatible with anything in the lower frequencies :/ well that’s super lame.

  • bkat11

    I jumped prematurely into the Galaxy S2 Skyrocket for AT&T when this new tech called “LTE” was going to be big and I had to wait an additional year before it made it to my market. I’ll hold off on any 5G phone till it hits my market.

    • Yonatan Ben Magen

      LOL, I remember when T-monwas Voicestream in the PNW, and had some of the earliest Digital cell signals (and cutting edge caller id lol) coverage was abysmal – but call quality was great.

      That said I stopped paying tok be a beta tester Haha.

      I still may wait till 2nd gen of 5G phones roll out in 2020 – despite short cycle maturing in this industry. Battery life and signal quality and strength will suffer initial as they finesse the tech.

    • Acdc1a

      Imagine the people who bought the “4g” Galaxy S3 on T-Mobile only to have an LTE model launch just months later.

    • SirStephenH

      Way back when, Verizon kept telling us that LTE was only three months away in our area. We’d call them or go into a store every month or two to get an update and they always told us three months. We finally got it over a year later and left for T-Mobile not long afterwards because Verizon started chipping away at our grandfathered unlimited plan to try to get us to switch to a more expensive limited plan.

  • francob911 .

    I hope this 5G is not harmful to human life.

    • slybacon

      You can count on cancer.

  • Sayahh

    Well, since the merger hasn’t been approved yet, switching on 5G right now would hurt their case for the need of a merger.

    • slybacon

      I actually agree. I would play down 5G as much as possible until the merger is approved, then go balls to the wall.

    • Yonatan Ben Magen

      I actually hope the merger goes down in flames. 99% of mergers only benefit the C-Suite executives and shareholders, while screwing over customers and employees in the process.

      T-mo will take on Sprints debt load and small post paid business. Sprints infrastructure – I doubt that the merger will a whole lot in growing T-mo subscriber base or allowing T-mo to compete with AT&T or Verizon.

      When T-mo rolls out 5G if it is post merger, I think that we could see ONE plans disappear with 5G roll-out.

      Honestly current 4G speeds 100Mbps +/- are plenty sufficient for 99% of indviual cell needs granted longer range or saturation in metro areas is a variable.

    • SirStephenH

      T-Mobile and Sprint have already committed to deploying 5G as if the merger wasn’t a thing. It would look very bad for them if they chose to reverse course on that commitment while they’re trying to get this deal to go through.

  • The Waz

    Would be nice if they first finished the rollout of 600mhz

    • slybacon

      Can’t finish the rollout of 600 MHz until all tv channels clear the 600 MHz frequencies. All will be clear by mid 2020 (10 phases). T-Mobile will be prepping and hopefully installing equipment ahead of the clearings so they can just flip it on. Northern Utah (Salt Lake City) rolled out fairly quickly being part of Phase 1.

      • The Waz

        Any info on what the phases are?

        • slybacon

          Yeah, just google “spectrum gateway 600 MHz” and you can get a lot of info there.

  • pda96

    No surprise here. Much ado about nothing……this 5G race.