AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are each launching new efforts to enable next-generation 5G networking this year but it looks as though T-Mobile isn’t going to sit idly by while other companies get there first. The carrier revealed at MWC 2018 today that it would begin building out its own 5G network in 30 different cities over the course of this year. Smartphones supporting that network aren’t expected to launch until next year but the carrier says that customers in New York, L.A., Dallas and Las Vegas would see 5G first in early 2019. Of course, this wouldn’t be T-Mobile without some scathing commentary from CEO and president John Legere. The executive says that the service provider can differentiate itself from the “Duopoly” of “Dumb and Dumber” by focusing on customers and a “transformative” combination of 4G LTE and 5G. To that end, T-Mobile is focusing efforts on maintaining its claimed “fastest ever” 4G LTE while enabling massive IoT connectivity, smart cities, and responsiveness through 5G that won’t vary sporadically from location to location.
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray shared at least some of that sentiment at the event, saying that every dollar spent by the carrier is a dollar spent toward 5G. The rollout itself will begin with the deployment of 5G ready network equipment utilizing the 600MHz low-band spectrum. From there, the company will build out its mmWave spectrum and implement around 25,000 small cells accessing Licensed Assisted Access bands. The mobile service provider says that although its own approach does depend on a combined use of 4G LTE and 5G to offer the best speeds and capacity, that network will be more robust. That’s owing to the company’s multi-spectrum approach using open airwaves rather than depending solely on current frequency holdings. While other companies rely on already congested networks, T-Mobile says, its strategy will provide customers with a “breakthrough experience.”
Despite its claims that it simply isn’t running the same race as its competitors, T-Mobile is putting a strong commitment in its own standing in the battle to offer reliable 5G to subscribers first. Whether or not it can deliver on those claims remains to be seen but customers are bound to benefit from the increased competition in the long run.