T-Mobile commits to unlimited 5G rate plans

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Following a bit of confusion yesterday around T-Mobile’s 5G network launch, CTO Neville Ray today talked a bit more about T-Mo’s plans for 5G.

Speaking to PCMag, Ray said that T-Mobile’s 5G plans will “absolutely” be unlimited and that they won’t cost more than T-Moble’s current rate plans for at least three years. T-Mo currently offers a single line of its T-Mobile One plan for $70 per month, which is the same price AT&T charges for access to its 5G network, though that plan only comes with 15GB of data per month.

We’ve heard T-Mobile make a similar pricing pledge recently with regard to its merger with Sprint. T-Mo CEO John Legere has said that, if approved, the New T-Mobile will offer the same or better rate plans at current or lower prices for at least three years after the merger. Now Ray’s statements confirm that 5G rate plans are included in that commitment.

Ray also touched a bit on T-Mobile’s 5G network launch plans. Yesterday T-Mo said that it plans to launch 5G using spectrum other than 600MHz in the first half of 2019, likely referring to millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. Ray said that T-Mobile is still “trialing and experimenting” with 5G but that it’d like launch something in the first half of the year. “We can do stuff in the first half. We’re going to have devices and we’re going to have network. But how material is it?” he said.

Ray confirmed that T-Mobile can potentially cover 100 million people with mmWave spectrum, which T-Mo has in places like Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Ohio, and a few other locations. On the hardware side, T-Mobile has committed to launching the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G this summer, but no other details about its 5G hardware plans have been confirmed.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile is likely to launch its 600MHz 5G coverage in the second half of 2019. That’s when phones with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem, which supports T-Mobile’s 600MHz 5G, are expected to become available. The 600MHz 5G is important because that spectrum has a longer reach that mmWave, so it’ll enable more people to get onto T-Mobile’s 5G network.

It’s unclear when in the second half of the year T-Mobile might launch its 600MHz 5G network, as Ray would only commit to that second half window when Snapdragon X55 phones are available. PCMag has heard rumblings that that “second half” rollout may come as late as November.

Source: PCMag

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  • Bruce Wayne

    “Ray said that T-Mobile’s 5G plans will “absolutely” be unlimited and that they won’t cost more than T-Moble’s current rate plans for at least three years.”

    So after three years, prices will go up and plans will become more limited.

    • riverhorse

      So enroll expeditiously and be grandfathered eternally. Why worry about stragglers?

      • Acdc1a

        My concern is the loss of benefits more than a price increase. Connecting while abroad for free is amazing.

        • slybacon

          Worry about that in 3 or more years. By then, there will be more wireless providers (Dish, Comcast, etc.) anyway.

        • Bruce Wayne

          Exactly this. This is what I’m talking about. Just look at how limited and expensive data became once 3G became mainstream.

    • JStatt

      T-Mobile doesn’t have a competitive edge over AT&T and particularly Verizon if they do not price attractively. They have no competitive incentive, at this time or post merger, to move backwards in prices and plans. If they jump ahead of the Big 2 and as we move to 6G, whenever that day arrives, it might be a different story.

      • slybacon

        I agree. Long ways away.

    • Kevin

      That is why there shouldn’t be a merger. So we can have more competition, which would benefit the consumer.

      • Jay Holm

        ATT/Vzn are way, way too big, T-Mobile would better be able to compete with combining Sprints customer base, and spectrum.

        • Kevin

          This would create 3 Telecom giants, an oligopoly. It is possible they can get together and do price fixing behaviors, which can harm the consumer.

        • riverhorse

          NO. Because now they would be also competing against the cable and satellite giants which are also offering cellular. So now you would have “several large” companies offering TV+internet+cellular. Hobbled international companies can’t compete vs established, monopolistic Ma Bell & Cable heirs that already had most of the necessary real estate built infrastructure in place.

          And the smaller regionals & MVNOs like US Cellular, up and coming balloon & satellite providers, streaming program providers contribute too. I can envision some behemoth like GoogleAmazonDisneyTV Network acquiring several pieces to compete vs TmoAttVerizon.
          The future looks more optimistic than a decade ago.

        • Kevin

          Having few big giant telecom companies is bad for the consumer; look at the history of att. US cellular is too small to compete and most of their network is in roaming. Cables don’t have any real nationwide wireless network, but are MVNOs.

      • slybacon

        No merger and prices go up NOW to cover Fifth Generation deployment. Having two companies cover the same areas twice will always cost more.

    • MisterListerSir

      Well, I mean…duh?

      Prices go up. It’s the nature of the beast. They need to keep building out and funding improvements, right?

    • slybacon

      Not a true statement. A possibility, but not true today. That’s just a really poor assumption to make. Just because one thing won’t happen, doesn’t mean another thing will. If you ran a business, would you like to lock in your prices for 3 years? I wouldn’t. Ballsy to commit to 3 years, IMO.

    • DDLAR

      That’s not a fair assumption. I can’t imagine any company making an indefinite commitment to a price freeze. T-Mobile hasn’t said what they will do in three years (probably, because they don’t know yet).

      What would your assumption be if they never said anything at all, but just charged the same for 5G and 4G on day one? Would you still assume that they are raising prices in three years? Or, are you turning a limited price commitment into a negative thing?

  • MarkAzali

    At 4G speeds…

    • SirStephenH

      Faster than 4G speeds… 5G is 15-50% more efficient than LTE on the same spectrum. That means greater speed and capacity than LTE.

      • slybacon

        He thinks T-Mobile will allow you to connect to Fifth Generation but not utilize the full speeds of it. Thinks they’ll limit you to 150 Mbps, or whatever LTE standards are. Oh wait, there aren’t any. LTE can go from 0.00 Mbps to over 1,000 Mbps. :)

  • mingkee

    I am more interested in fifth generation ISP utilizing mmWave.
    Currently I have Optimum 200/35 for $80

    • Trevnerdio

      Why not let T-Mobile be your ISP instead?

      • mingkee

        It’s not even released yet

        • Trevnerdio

          Right but I mean would you rather stick with someone like Optimum or go with T-Mobile?

    • DDLAR

      I am interested in T-Mobile moving into the ISP space. I may, or may not, switch to them as my ISP. However, I’m certain that the competition will benefit us all.

  • Jay Holm

    Good! I used 72+ gb’s this month, networks hold up just fine with carrier aggregation implemented, and networks hold up just fine. I remember way back at the end of the last decade when ATT & Vzn claimed there was going to be a “spectrum crunch”….networks have held up just fine….

  • donnybee

    So, am I to assume my current plan won’t allow 5G data? Do I really need a 5G data plan? That’s idiotic

    • SirStephenH

      There’s no info one way or the other.

      5G can handle more data, utilizing the same spectrum as LTE, so it’s actually cheaper to run than LTE in that respect. This gives T-Mobile an incentive to get people on 5G.

    • JG

      That’s what I’m wondering as well…

      I’m hoping it just merges into the “unlimited data” portion of our current plans… If not, hopefully it’ll work as a “Premium Data Add-on” we can tick onto our current plans for an extra $10/month or whatever…

      I really like the promotional 2 lines for $100 plan I’m on… I hope I don’t have to loose it just to get super duper fast data…

  • Peter Bergonzi

    Is that unlimited as in today’s “unlimited”, which is throttled when the network is “congested”, and without tethering?
    Just what kind of “unlimited” is unlimited?

    • DDLAR

      T-Mobile does not throttle. They do deprioritize, however. These are not the same thing. In some cases, they can have the same effect. In other cases, deprioritization can have a negligible effect. The latter case is quite common (it probably represents the vast majority of situations).

      • Peter Bergonzi

        Then with all this bandwidth, it’s nice to know there will now be no need to deprioritize me. However, I would still maintain that once my speed has been slowed, I’ve been throttled, whether it’s random, part-time, or not.

  • mikeZo6

    5G will have NO CHANGE in price at all 3G to 4G LTE no price change.
    New phone that can pick up 5G its as SIMPLE as that can use greater speeds
    Data is very very cheap for Tmo no mater 3G,4G OR 5G….

  • DDLAR

    I don’t understand why people care so much about 5G for their phone? Today, when I have good 4G coverage I can do anything I want on my phone in (e.g., stream movies, listen to music, download documents quickly). 5G will make downloads a bit quicker, but I never spend more than a few seconds doing downloads today.

    5G will improve spectral efficiency, which will help the carriers (e.g., T-Mobile) to support more devices. It will also allow them to supply ISP services, which do require higher speeds than 4G.

    From a personal point of view for mobile data I’m more concerned about coverage.

    • Jason Caprio

      Well said. 5G will take many years to spread throughout the country and knowing T-Mobile, only major cities will see the benefits for the first couple years when 5G is switched on. I completely agree, coverage is much more important than raw speed. Furthermore, consistent speeds along with great coverage is more important than having crazy peak speeds in only a few areas.

      • mikeZo6

        Most Major cities will be one of the last for 5G cause TV stations still using spectrum and they are the LAST phase to convert off so Tmo can use band 71 you can read up on all phases of band 71

        • Jason Caprio

          When I speak about 5G in major cities, I’m talking about the full-speed multi gigabit 5G which will only be possible with very high frequency mmwave bands.

          Band 71 600MHz, even with 5G NR technology, still has limitations. Low frequencies propogate better, but physically cannot transmit extremely high data rates. The total bandwidth of 20×20 600MHz is probably around 50mbit/sec, maybe 100mbit/sec on 5G.

          And that’s on a full signal. As a signal gets weaker, data rates get even worse. You probably need a blazing full signal to get the “true” 5G speed out of Band 71, anything lower, you basically revert to LTE.

          I’ll use 802.11ac wifi for example. On an 80MHz wide 5GHz channel, on my phone using 2 streams, I have an 866mbit connection when I’m close to the router. Anything worse than a strong -48dbm signal, the speeds get much lower. At -67dbm, which is still a very decent signal, speed drops to 351mbit. At -72dbm, it’s at 117mbit. The same holds true for cellular signals. The more technology you “squeeze” into the signal, such as 256 QAM, etc, the stronger signal you need to have to see the full benefits.

        • mikeZo6

          Totally agree with that statement

      • riverhorse

        In order to blanket the country TMo still needs more acquisitions a la AT&T- a satellite provider andor a cable company.. or partner up with Google for its balloons and backhaul.

        • Douglas Jackson

          That’s why T-Mobile spent 8 billion dollars on 600MHz spectrum to supposedly get the entire U.S covered with LTE

        • riverhorse

          Tmo’s total 600mhz holdings (in use + soon to be from the TV stations)+ all their other bandwidth holdings do not blanket the entire US. And not even when also adding Sprint’s.
          Or I’m really way off…

        • Douglas Jackson

          Well T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that the 600MHz (LTE band 71) would cover the entire U.S. He said that they bought spectrum in every region including cities that have spectrum already. The 600MHz would suppose to enhance coverage in cities that have coverage already to where you are always covered

        • riverhorse

          On Amtrak oftentimes, I will get full signal in a city but zero almost all the way between cities. But I don’t blame Tmo…we have so much vast, empty space…if we still have areas without roads, electricity, landline, tv, internet…
          Until our population explodes into China/India numbers I think only dedicated satellites & balloons can cover everything.
          Before internet & cellular I used to love traveling, but now being incommunicado(besides signing up for satellite service) holds very little attraction. As well quite a few resort areas get so overloaded at peak times– that service is almost useless.

        • Douglas Jackson

          John Legere was tired of hearing people say they wanna come to T-Mobile but their network is trash and they can’t travel travel outside of their city, they unreliable, he did what he could to fix it buying 8 billion dollars of 600MHz lowland spspectrum and now t-mobile engineers are working hard every day sun up to sun down to all get rural areas and areas with no coverage what so ever covered with LTE and to match Verizon LTE coverage and more

        • Douglas Jackson

          Shid I don’t see Sprint trying to match Verizon LTE coverage and more but they still trying to come out with 5G and they don’t even have 90% of U.S covered yet

        • You’re right .

          Which is why they bought Lauer 3 .If you looks at the jobs pages for T-Mobile they are hiring Cable Install Techs with MoCA & DIOCIS 3.1 experience. This means they are buying out the dark fiber and going to run FTTN & build coax out to residential.

          AT&T is still ahead of T-Mobike in data speeds.

  • DDLAR

    I think people are too worried about prices here. The general trend for mobile connections is lower prices. It wasn’t too long ago that people worried about minutes on the mobile phone plans. I think my first mobile phone came with 100 minutes/month. It also was even more recently that unlimited texting became part of mobile plans. Reasonably priced unlimited data is a very new thing (thank you T-Mobile). 5G may, or may not, be expensive for a period of time. However, it will surely get cheaper in the long run.

    • Acdc1a

      Unlimited data was the norm until it wasn’t and now it is again. Only thing that stays the same roughly for the last 8 years or so is the MRC.

      • DDLAR

        Unlimited data was only the norm when it first came out and no carrier expected it to take off the way it did. After they saw how much data people consumed with 3G they immediately started getting rid of their unlimited data plans.

  • mikeZo6

    Unlimited 5G but HD Ultra or HD no problem with 5G at full deployment

  • Kevin

    Of course you need to pay more for HD. Don’t even think about streaming 4k.

  • mikeZo6

    CHECK THIS OUT FOUND ON TMO OPEN INTERNET (DATA) POLICY

    Your plan includes access to the technologies, features, and services that you purchased when you activated your account. You may have temporary access to new services while they are being tested or made available for purchase. Temporary access to some new technologies, services, or features (e.g. 5G) may provide noticeable benefits, like significantly increased speeds. Your temporary access may end at any time, but we may begin offering access for purchase. For example, T‑Mobile is leading the industry in introducing new messaging capabilities which allow you to send larger file attachments and have bigger chat groups. T‑Mobile initially gave some users access to this new messaging service whether they had a data plan or not; but going forward, you may need to have a data plan or feature to use this new type of messaging and the data used to send and receive them may count towards your data allotments and the prioritization threshold for heavy data users.

  • NardVa

    I can see T-Mobile letting everybody stay on their current plans and still get 5G access, but when they run promos for new phones make the promo only apply when being under the new “5G” plan with higher rates and more perks that you may or may not need.