T-Mobile details some of its biggest 5G ambitions and the hard work needed to make them happen
T-Mobile's intricate 5G rollout strategy has a lot of different moving parts, but while the "Un-carrier" is certainly not disregarding the mmWave and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing technologies Verizon has been largely focusing on for the first stages of its own 5G deployment, the nation's second-largest wireless service provider is concentrating the bulk of its resources on low and mid-band spectrum for the time being.
Mid-band is key for both mobile and home internet expansions
While undoubtedly superior from a speed perspective, the 2.5 GHz technology is considerably harder to integrate than the 600 MHz spectrum T-Mobile owned prior to the April 1-closed merger, requiring up to 10 days of actual cell site upgrading work, according to President of Technology Neville Ray (via Fierce Wireless.)
That explains why T-Mo's mid-band 5G network is not yet available in many cities, unlike the "nationwide" low-band signal. But contrary to the recent "disinformation" of tower companies, Ray claims the mobile phone operator's 5G expansion and upgrading tempo is accelerating rather than slowing down. All in all, Magenta thinks the number of live 2.5 GHz sites could get in the thousands by the end of 2020 alone, which would be a pretty remarkable accomplishment so early in the 5G development game.
In addition to setting its sights on achieving total domination in the mobile internet space fairly soon, T-Mo wants to make a big splash with its home broadband service too as soon as next year.
Recently rolled out in the greater Grand Rapids area in Michigan as a relatively wide-scale commercial test run, the T-Mobile Home Internet offering is expected to "break the back of the 2.5 GHz spectrum in 2021." The main goal is to provide "rural America" a reliable, affordable, and reasonably fast home broadband option, which is something that's not very easily accessible at the moment in many non-urban areas.
Some 5G flavors are more important than others
In case you're wondering, a 4G LTE-based T-Mobile Home Internet plan currently costs $50 a month with no annual service contracts or data caps, as well as all taxes and fees included, promising average download speeds of around 50 Mbps that will undeniably go up once mid-band 5G technology enters the equation.
Compared to a low-band signal, that covers a substantially smaller area, but compared to blazing fast mmWave technology, a mid-band 2.5 GHz network reaches a lot more people, doing a significantly better job at penetrating obstacles and thus striking a great balance between 5G speed and availability.
Of course, that's only one of the three 5G layers T-Mobile is looking to serve as part of a perfect cake in as many places as possible across the nation, with the slower low-band layer and a groundbreaking technology called standalone 5G allowing the "Un-carrier" to reach a lot of small towns where Verizon isn't even close to making an appearance.
Speaking of Big Red, though, we'd be remiss not to mention that the nation's number one mobile network operator launched its own 5G Home Internet service all the way back in 2018, failing however to expand it to a lot of places in 2019 and 2020 or rack up a considerable number of customers (as far as we know).