T-Mobile is fashionably late to the 5G party, not that it really matters this early in the game. AT&T was the first to light up its mobile 5G network, and was followed closely by Verizon Wireless. Sprint joined the fray last month, and T-Mobile is now saying that it will make available its first 5G-compatible smartphone on June 28th(Friday).
Like the other three major U.S. wireless carriers before it, T-Mobile will be offering the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which will be priced at a staggering $1,299 upfront. However, you can always use T-Mobile's equipment installment plan (EIP) and get the smartphone for $31.25 per month after forking over a down payment of $549.99.
T-Mobile's 5G network -- at least initially -- only supports millimeter wave (mmWave) technology, which means that customers should expect blazing fast speeds at relatively short distances from cell towers. As we saw from Verizon's early 5G availability, download speeds can approach and exceed 1Gbps.
Unfortunately, T-Mobile's initial 5G mmWave rollout will be limited to just a handful of urban city centers across the United States: Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York. To see how 5G coverage stacks up in this first group of cities, T-Mobile has provided a handy coverage map which you can access here.
If anything, the coverage map makes this look more like a "paper launch" than anything else. The coverage maps for cities like Los Angeles and Dallas basically show a few sparsely covered areas measuring a few city blocks each. Coverage in Los Angeles is more widespread, but still not nearly as prevalent as 4G LTE coverage. New York City -- specifically Manhattan -- has perhaps the best coverage of all (south of Central Park). But even then, there are still a large number of "no coverage" zones.
“5G from T-Mobile is different because we have a very different plan to deliver broad, deep and transformational 5G – to everyone! Unlike the other guys, we believe 5G should cover people near and far – especially those in rural America," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere. "Customers can supplement their already kick-ass LTE experience with a 5G boost in a few cities now, but if our merger with Sprint is approved, the New T-Mobile will build a 5G network for all … the kind of 5G network America deserves.”
There are a few other items to note with T-Mobile's announcement. The Galaxy S10 5G on its network only supports mmWave technology and will not be compatible with low- and mid-band 5G frequencies when T-Mobile is ready to expands its footprint. Secondly, T-Mobile has already promised that it will not charge a premium for 5G service compared to its 4G LTE offerings.