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5G on T-Mobile: Everything you need to know

T-Mobile is getting a head start in the 5G business.

T-Mobile has one of the most ambitious 5G plans of any carrier out there. T-Mobile is banking on a merger with Sprint to complete its full 5G network but hasn’t shied away from getting a head start. With new 5G spots in six cities across the U.S., it’s time to start thinking about whether you should consider T-Mobile’s 5G network. Here’s everything you need to know about this network so you can make that decision with confidence.

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  • When will my area get 5G?
  • Which devices should I get to be 5G ready?
  • Which plan do I need for access?
  • What tech is T-Mobile using?
  • What’s the deal with Sprint and does it matter?
  • Is 5G worth it for most people?

The 5G Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Fast, smooth, and cutting edge

One of the most complete feeling flagship phones only gets better with 5G support and a massive battery. With a great display and cameras, this phone is the perfect tool for anyone that gets things done on the go.

  • $1,300 at Samsung

When will my area even get 5G?

T-Mobile has one of the youngest 5G networks around. The network is off to a strong start with a list of six cities and surprisingly detailed maps. With some coverage in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Cleveland, and Atlanta, the number of cities is high compared to other carriers but the actual 5G coverage is still quite low. Some highlighted areas with consistent coverage only encompass a few neighborhoods and many only have it a street intersection.

This deployment is reassuringly honest but it does exemplify the difficulty of deploying mmWave 5G in a city. Check out T-Mobile’s 5G maps to see if you won the 5G lottery.

Which devices should I get to be 5G ready?

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is the only 5G device currently available on T-Mobile. If you had to only have one 5G device, this would be it. The Galaxy S10 5G is a larger version of the S10+ with a larger battery and display alongside a 5G modem.

It’s worth noting that T-Mobile offers the OnePlus 7 Pro, which has a 5G version, but not on T-Mobile.

Which plan do I need for access?

At this time, T-Mobile is allowing anyone with a compatible device to access its 5G network. This decision almost feels counterintiutive to what’s going on at other carriers, which is very much what you would expect from T-Mobile. It’s important to note that using 5G will likely lead to increased data usage so a plan with plenty of data is recommended.

What tech is T-Mobile using?

Starting with mmWave on a 28 Ghz band, T-Mobile should be competitive with Verizon and AT&T when the network has more time to mature. This mmWave deployment should be capable of very high speeds but building penetration and coverage is much more limited than we’re used to with 4G. T-Mobile plans to expand further by making use of the low-band 600 Mhz spectrum in the future.

What’s the deal with Sprint and does it matter?

There’s another piece of the 5G puzzle that still needs to be placed, and it’s yellow. Sprint invested big in sub-6 spectrum early on and has partially used it to drive high LTE speeds thanks to carrier aggregation. Recently, Sprint has been making use of this spectrum to build a 5G network. While speeds aren’t as high as mmWave networks, it has much better coverage and building penetration.

When and if Sprint and T-Mobile are able to join forces, both networks will be able to make free use of this combined 5G network, giving customers access to one of the most technically advanced and widest reaching networks nationwide. We’ll just have to wait and see if it becomes a reality.

Is 5G worth it for most people?

On T-Mobile it really comes down to if you want the phone because there is no current separation of plans. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is quite a good phone with everything you would expect from a modern flagship device. If you just want the advanced speed and improved connection consistency of 5G, the Galaxy S10 5G is a strong phone and T-Mobile has even demonstrated speeds over 1Gbps on it. We’ve seen similar results on the same phone on another network as well.

However, it’s also the only choice on T-Mobile and costs $300 more than the normal S10. If this large and expensive device isn’t to your taste then you should hold off until a device with a better fit becomes available. 4G LTE will be more than enough for the needs of most users at this time.

The 5G Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Fast, smooth, and cutting edge

One of the most complete feeling flagship phones only gets better with 5G support and a massive battery. With a great display and cameras, this phone is the perfect tool for anyone that gets things done on the go.

  • $1,300 at Samsung

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