T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray wrote in a blog post
today that when it comes to 5G, T-Mobile is going to be "the adult in the room." Ray says that unlike Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile isn't looking for bragging rights when it comes to offering the next-generation of wireless connectivity. He points out that both carriers have what he calls "severe limitations" with their 5G services.
Ray states that Verizon's mmWave 5G network won't bring its next-gen network to all Americans, pointing out that those living in rural areas of the country will never get 5G service using only this spectrum. Launched earlier this month in Minneapolis and Chicago
, the only device that is compatible with Verizon's 5G pipeline right now is the Motorola Moto Z3
with a 5G Moto Mod attached. The executive notes that mmWave signals don't travel very far from cell sites and won't penetrate materials. As a result, he says that Verizon's 5G coverage is "very spotty and unreliable," and quite often drops down to 4G. Verizon plans to charge $10 a month over its 4G prices for 5G service. The bottom line, according to Ray, is that Verizon's 5G service is not ready for prime time.
"With the status quo from AT&T and Verizon, we’ll continue to see 5G as a treasure hunt, a lottery ticket, panning for gold… We’ll continue to see more confusing, price-hiking, customer-unfriendly BS. We’ll continue to see Es and UWBs and +s and who knows what other mystifying set of descriptors to trick America into thinking it’s getting something it’s not."-Neville Ray, CTO, T-Mobile
AT&T is offering 5G by invitation in 19 markets after adding seven new cities to its coverage earlier this month
. However, AT&T does not have a 5G compatible phone to sell at this time, so those using the carrier's 5G service are toting the Netgear Nighthawk 5G mobile hotspot to connect to the next-gen network.
T-Mobile says that it must be allowed to merge with Sprint in order for 5G to reach its full potential in the U.S.
Ray says that for 5G to reach its full potential, it needs to be made available to the entire country. That is why he says that while mmWave is important, T-Mobile will be the only major carrier to offer "broad and deep nationwide coverage" thanks to the use of its spectrum bands. He says that T-Mobile does have some mmWave holdings that will help spread speedy 5G signals in urban areas and in stadiums and arenas where large crowds gather. But T-Mobile's low-frequency spectrum, which travels farther and penetrates buildings, will allow the wireless provider's 5G signal to reach everyone coast to coast. Adding Sprint's mid-range 2.5GHz spectrum will bring "coverage and capacity" to the network. Combining these two networks is "the entire rationale behind the proposed merger with Sprint," Ray says.
When the time is ready and its customers are best served by the technology, T-Mobile will launch its 5G network. Customers will not pay a penny more for the service, Ray says, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
will be offered to subscribers. The combination of T-Mobile's low-frequency spectrum, Sprint's mid-range airwaves, and T-Mobile's mmWave spectrum will "deliver a broad and deep truly nationwide 5G network – the approach that’s needed to serve all Americans, including rural America," says the executive.
5G offers data speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 4G LTE. Innovative companies are expected to use the faster speeds to create new businesses and services, some that we can't even imagine right now. For example, 4G LTE connectivity allowed the ride-sharing industry to be born giving us new billion dollar companies like Uber and Lyft. And T-Mobile's point is that without regulatory approval of its merger with Sprint, 5G service will not be made available to all Americans. In addition, all of the benefits that 5G speeds bring will not come to pass in the U.S.