T-Mobile network begins combining with Sprint, 2.5GHz 5G goes live in Philadelphia

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T-Mobile’s Neville Ray teased earlier this month that the carrier had begun deploying mid-band 5G spectrum the same day that the Sprint merger closed, and now that spectrum is officially live.

T-Mo has confirmed that its mid-band 5G is now live in parts of Philadelphia, using 2.5GHz airwaves to give T-Mobile’s 5G improved depth and speed. T-Mobile’s Neville Ray says that he’s already seen peak speeds of 600Mbps in Philadelphia.

Phones that can access this 2.5GHz-based 5G include the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren, Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, Galaxy S20 series, LG V60 ThinQ 5G, and the upcoming OnePlus 8 5G.

You can see a coverage map of T-Mobile’s 600MHz and 2.5GHz 5G coverage in Philadelphia below.

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What’s more, T-Mobile says that it plans to light up New York City with 2.5GHz 5G soon. The coverage map below shows you what T-Mobile’s 600MHz, 2.5GHz, and mmWave 5G will look like in NYC.

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In other 5G news, T-Mobile says that it’s low-band 600MHz 5G is now live in Detroit, St. Louis, and Columbus, OH. This network launched in December 2019 and covered 200 million people at the time, and it’s been expanding to even more cities since then.

T-Mobile also announced today that Sprint customers will soon be able to access T-Mobile’s existing network. Starting later this month, Sprint subscribers with a Samsung Galaxy S20 5G will have access to T-Mobile’s 600MHz 5G coverage.

Sprint customers with first gen 5G phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G will continue to have access to Sprint’s 5G network that’s live in nine metro areas: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC. But Karri Kuoppamaki, T-Mobile’s vice president of radio network technology, tells PCMag that those phones will become 4G devices as T-Mobile takes over the 5G airwaves. T-Mo added that Sprint customers with those devices will get a deal to help them move to new T-Mobile 5G phones.

T-Mobile is also enabling Sprint customers with compatible 4G LTE phones to roam on T-Mobile’s LTE network when they leave an area with Sprint LTE coverage. This gives those Sprint customers access to more than double the LTE sites of Sprint’s network alone.

Throughout the merger process, T-Mobile regularly talked up how the merger with Sprint would help “supercharge” its 5G network, and now it’s showing what it was talking about. The process to fully integrate Sprint’s network into T-Mobile’s is going to take some time — T-Mo estimates that it’ll take around three years — but T-Mobile and Sprint customers are getting a taste of what the combined T-Mobile-Sprint just a few weeks after the deal closed.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • SparklingCyanide

    well it’s no wonder i kept seeing the 5G signal light up periodically on my GS20 Ultra in the Metro Detroit suburbs area. i knew they were working on it because of this, didn’t know they were this close to launching it tho. a nice surprise for sure :D

  • Galaxy S20 base model doesnt support 2.5Ghz just 600mhz. Total RIP off when LG V60 support all 5G bands and cost less. Samsung shouldve did better

    • marque2

      I believe the V30 and on support 2.5ghz

    • Hurlamania

      The base S20 does 2.5 it doesn’t do Mm wave

  • Chase

    Do we anticipate seeing improvements in T-Mobile’s LTE coverage with this combination as well?

    • Shaun Michalak

      You will see improved speeds on the T-Mobile network as they get things upgraded.. You will only see improvements in coverage where Sprint has towers, and T-Mobile does not.. and T-Mobile keeps the Sprint towers.. They said something like 35% of all Sprint towers will be sold to Dish, and the rest will be kept.. I could have that backwards, but I believe that was the case..

  • BobbieDooley

    Still doing pretty well on Sprint’s 2.5GHz network in Denver. SpeedTest is showing 180-220MB per second on my grandfathered $15/month “Kickstart Unlimited” rateplan.

    I met some Sprint Engineers at a hotel I was staying at who were deploying the Denver Network in Feburary. They were originally from Texas. So, take note- Neville Ray’s team couldn’t do it, but they sure took credit. Most likely, it’s the same team who turned on other networks while Neville Ray cut network spending starting last year.

    Looks like the $15 Sprint’s Kickstart plan now includes Hotspot. I doubt i’ll ever use it, but it does pretty well on legacy iPhone 7 and 8s.

    • Shaun Michalak

      Still doing pretty well on Sprint’s 2.5GHz network in Denver.

      I met some Sprint Engineers at a hotel I was staying at who were deploying the Denver Network in Feburary.

      So, take note- Neville Ray’s team couldn’t do it, but they sure took credit.

      I am confused.. Ray is T-Mobile.. The merger did not go through until April.. But you met them in February.. You are a Sprint customer, but yet you say that Ray could not do it?? T-Mobile did not have the Sprint 2.5Ghz spectrum in February.. In fact, T-Mobile was actually limited, as they has something like 35% less spectrum to use on the towers, then say AT&T did back then.. So T-Mobile’s 5G was not limited by their not doing anything.. It was restricted by not enough bandwidth.. Taking that into account, why would you say that Ray could not do it, like it was his fault for not doing his job.. T-Mobile at that time set things in place to majorly upgrade things after the merger back then..

  • VanceDuke

    If you buy me a new phone I will take the ride there and test.

  • JG

    Sprint customers with compatible phones will be able to roam onto T-Mobile when they go out of range of Sprint and can access the 600Mhz 5G network…

    Ok… Meanwhile those of us on T-Mobile get ????

    Why can’t we roam onto Sprint when we go out of range of T-Mobile?

    • Sharti24

      I know it sucks but its because sprints network doesnt suport 100% Volte Like tmobile does.

    • Cliff R

      because they are going to convert those towers into a T-Mobile tower/network. Why give that when it won’t be around?

      • JG

        Why not? They’re letting Sprint customers get an early feel for what the combined single network could feel like… So why not let T-Mobile customers have similar access?

        Sprint customers can roam onto T-Mo when needed. Why can’t T-Mo roam onto Sprint when needed? There are a few little towns around here that have no T-Mo coverage. If Sprint has coverage there, I could roam onto the Sprint network and get online when I’m passing through those areas while I wait for the single New T-Mobile network to be completed.

        The merger isn’t going to happen overnight. The article says it’ll take three years! I’m in a fairly rural area of the US. I doubt were high on the combining priority list. For example, AT&T never bothered to bring us 3G. We probably only have their LTE because they shut down their 2G network. So for me, it’ll probably be closer to the 3 year mark before I see any of the unified network around here.

        • Shaun Michalak

          You said it right there.. Just data.. Sprint I believe only started upgrading their network to 4G VoLTE about 2 years ago.. A lot of their towers are still older tech.. Because of that, a lot of Sprint towers you only have the option of either data, or talk.. Not both..

          As for Sprint being able to roam off of T-Mobiles towers.. That contract was made when they first started talking about the merger.. So it has been like that for a few years.. It is not something that is recent..

      • weidnerj

        True, but eventually where there is Sprint towers not in old T-Mobile coverage will eventually become New T-Mobile towers. Good example is that there is a know T-Mobile dead spot on my route to and from work, that I didn’t have as a Sprint customer. It would be great not to have to wait 3 years for that to be fixed when you have a company with two different networks until they are one.

    • Shaun Michalak

      I read comments that since they merger went through, there was some people that could jump off of Sprint towers.. I guess if you get a much better signal off of Sprint, then it connects directly to them.. But the thing is, unless T-Mobiles service is really bad in the area, you really do not want to jump off of Sprints towers.. Trust me.. I have a Sprint hotspot and service is not that great in a lot of area.. You are better off with T-Mobile..

      Also, since Sprint mainly only covers main areas, I doubt you are going to find many places where Sprint has coverage, that T-Mobile does not..

  • Cliff R

    Now just turn on nationwide VoLTE for Sprint users to be able to use while connected to the T-Mobile tower/network. Right now if the phone connects it is data only

    • slybacon

      I’m sure that will be coming soon, because T-Mobile likes to tout its VoLTE (soon to be VoNR??) percentages.

    • Shaun Michalak

      2 problems with that statement.. First, not all of Sprints network is VoLTE compatible as far as I am aware.. They just started updating their towers to that 2 years ago, so I do not believe that they got all of the towers done.. Second, Sprints network is connected to T-Mobiles via a proxy.. They are not directly connected.. T-Mobile tries to make their network standard, with just certain equipment from certain vendors.. Sprint has way too many different vendors for their equipment for T-Mobiles tastes, so until their network is more standardized.. Or basically, as the towers and equipment is upgraded, they will be turned on to the T-Mobile network.. That is why it is not as simple as flipping a switch.

      • Cliff R

        What you’re saying sounds like what I said just in different/better words. It’s easier for Sprint users to connect to T-Mobile than T-Mobile users to also use Sprint. Therefore no point to enable roaming onto Sprint.

        • Shaun Michalak

          The way you had it worded, I thought you thought that T-Mobile could just flip a switch.. My mistake..

  • mikeZo6

    T-Mobile’s Neville Ray says that he’s already seen peak speeds of 600Mbps in Philadelphia.
    Let’s see some proof ?

  • Sharti24

    Will Tmobile use all the 2.5ghz spectrum for 5G or will they be using some for LTE as well?

    • TenEightyPeePee

      Why would you want that? Why not focus on the future?

      • marque2

        Because the future costs an additional $800 – $1200 per phone.

    • marque2

      I think the transmitters work in a hybrid mode being part 5g part LTE at the moment – so they could technically support both.

    • slybacon

      I think I remember reading that they will only use the 2500MHz (2.5GHz) for 5G.

    • Shaun Michalak

      As far as i am aware, I believe that they are going to keep 2.5 ghz, aka band 41 for 5G only, but they are going to put all of Sprints 1.9 ghz, aka band 25, in use for 4G use.. So they are adding to both 4 and 5G, but with 2 different frequencies.

  • Joe

    Think about the possibility when they can use carer aggregation for low band, mid band, and mmWave 5G…..Probably 3 years out till we have the phones for this.

    • Sharti24

      You can next year when the X60 modem comes out

  • Shaun Michalak

    That is why he wants you to “buy” him one.. lol..

    But if you do not want to buy him one, buy me one and I will take a trip down there and do it for you too.. lol

  • Zak Kräus

    I currently have the (Sprint) OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, will there be a way to trade it in for a OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren and use that with my current service?

    • ericdabbs

      Yes. The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G is compatible with n71 (600 MHz) and n41 (2.5 GHz) networks.

  • Glenn Gore

    Sprint never built anything here, so essentially T-Mobile gained nothing from the merger over half the state. Therefore it will probably be quite a while before any of the Sprint spectrum will be used here. Right now, data rates on T-Mobile’s 5G over Band 71 are pitiful compared to their LTE. T-Moible owns 50 Mhz of Band 71, so the potential is there for something good, should T-Mobile decide to use that 50 Mhz. Right now they evidently are only using a tiny bit of it. 12 Mbps over 5G vs 120 Mbps on LTE is ridiculous.

    • Shaun Michalak

      I think you have things a little off.. First, T-Mobile only got about 31mhz of band 71 coverage across the country.. They are now using 50 to 60mhz of band 71, but only because of “loaned” spectrum from other companies, that are not currently using it..

      As for to say that you will not get any benefits from it since there is no Sprint towers in the area.. well, Sprint has a bit of band 25, which is about equal to band 2, that T-Mobile can add to those towers in your area, without having to do much since they already have support for that frequency installed.. I agree that it will take time to add support for band 41, which is what will really give you those speed increases on 5G.. But that will not stop them from installing Sprints 1900mhz band 25 until then.

      • David Haas

        Glenn, from previous posts across multiple platforms, lives in an area that Sprint never had built out spectrum holdings (IIRC he lives in Pioneer Cellular territory, which at one point was a Sprint rural partner before aligning with Verizon for LTEiRA).

        I have traveled a lot in that area and it’s basically Pioneer/Verizon, at&t and T-Mobile.

        Rural areas won’t really see much improvement from Sprint holdings unless they were heavily Sprint to begin with (parts of the Texas Panhandle and rural southern Michigan are good examples of this). This will probably change once T-Mobile upgrades equipment to enable the B41/n41 support.

  • actionjksn

    I have the LG V60 in Columbus Ohio. I am only getting LTE at home five minutes from the outer belt. Any idea when these Sprint 5g networks are going to show up on my phone?

  • Luis Miguel Hidalgo

    Their site states that effective 4/28 sprint customer will be able to jump on their 5G, but my phone hasn’t pick that signal yet. S20 ultra.

    • Michael Vengoechea

      Nothing for me either. Just update my PRL and profile too. Where did it say the 28th?

      • Luis Miguel Hidalgo

        It’s on the Sprint Faq’s landing page for that text message they sent.