T-Mobile quietly expands its mid-band 5G network to three additional major cities

T-Mobile quietly expands its mid-band 5G network to three additional major cities
Whenever someone asks or wonders which one of America's big four wireless service providers has the best 5G network, the answer is the same - it's complicated. The first edition of Opensignal's unofficial 5G mobile experience awards, for instance, yielded three different winners across three major categories, with Verizon and T-Mobile predictably taking home the download speed and availability trophies respectively, and AT&T and Verizon surprisingly sharing the crucial "download speed experience" title.

Unsurprisingly, T-Mobile and Verizon chose to focus on the more flattering parts of the comprehensive nationwide report for each carrier, celebrating their wins in boastful press releases while ignoring the competition's undeniable strengths, and in Magenta's case, going so far as to repeatedly taunt Big Red for its greatest 5G network weakness.

But T-Mobile also buried a very interesting detail in its newsroom post dedicated to the most recent 5G availability award, which emphasizes for the umpteenth time the "Un-carrier's" continued progress and relentless efforts towards covering the entire nation with a fast and reliable cellular signal.

Five major cities down, many more to go


T-Mobile impressively managed to flip the mid-band switch in Philadelphia and New York shortly after completing its essential Sprint acquisition, and perhaps even more impressively, this well-balanced 5G flavor apparently expanded to Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles recently with absolutely no fanfare.

These five cities are different from all the other places where T-Mobile's low-band 5G service is currently available, with average download speeds of "around" 330 Mbps promised at the moment. A series of tests conducted in NYC not long ago revealed the "New T-Mobile" network was capable of delivering much higher speeds in certain places with no help from mmWave technology, although Magenta still plans to combine all three types of 5G and serve an "all-inclusive" layer cake in various metropolitan areas.


The mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum acquired from Sprint is essentially the second of three layers composing this delicious cake, producing a 5G signal that travels further than Verizon's insanely fast mmWave "Ultra Wideband" service while vastly improving the speeds made possible by low-band technology.

It's important to point out that Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles just happened to be on the short list of cities with live Sprint 5G service at the time of the merger's completion, which probably means T-Mobile did little more than repurpose and rebrand already deployed spectrum while also combining it with its own low-band network foundation.

It seems safe to assume T-Mo will continue doing precisely that in the foreseeable future, which would make cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. next in line. At the same time, the "Un-carrier" is also hard at work on setting up Sprint's wealth of mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum in many other uncharted territories, so you can expect plenty of network expansions and improvements in the next few months.

No coverage maps? No problem!


It's certainly not like T-Mobile to boost the number of places where such an important service as mid-band 5G is available from two to five without trumpeting its great, swift advancement, which strongly suggests this is still very much a work in progress.

We also don't have maps highlighting the actual "parts of" Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles where you can hope to get average download speeds of well over 300 Mbps, which is rarely a good sign.


But if T-Mo is indeed repurposing Sprint's "True Mobile 5G" network, it might be worth looking at the areas covered by that service as of a few months ago. In Chicago, for instance, the mid-band signal was available "from the historic IL-64 in the north to Stevenson Expressway in the south, and as far as California Avenue in the west to the periphery of Lake Michigan in the east."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles residents could take a step into the future of cellular connectivity from Marina del Rey to Downtown L.A., as well as West Hollywood to Culver City, and in parts of Torrance, Southgate, Lancaster, and Buena Park. Finally, Houston joined the party from downtown to Memorial City Mall and City Centre Plaza, as well as uptown and northwest and south.

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