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Here’s everything you need to know about 5G on T-Mobile and Sprint


Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

T-Mobile has one of the most ambitious 5G plans of any carrier out there and with its purchase of Sprint, T-Mobile has a ton of spectrum and a great platform to build a great 5G network. T-Mobile has already deployed a nationwide 5G network on its low-band 600MHz spectrum and high-band mmWave spectrum with plans to continue expansion with Sprint’s mid-band 5G spectrum. This combined network is poised to be one of the strongest in the nation.

The 5G Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G

Fast, smooth, and cutting edge

Samsung’s new flagship, the Galaxy S20+ supports all of T-Mobile’s 5G bands including Sprint’s 5G bands making it one of the best ways to get connected with 5G. It also has a great set of cameras, a beautiful display with a high refresh rate, and a massive battery.

Do I have 5G coverage on T-Mobile and Sprint?

Most people that have T-Mobile 5G coverage right now are covered by a low-band network built on its 600MHz spectrum. This low bandwidth helps the signal travel further than a lot of 5G networks. Reclaimed from broadcast TV, the 600MHz spectrum has allowed T-Mobile to upgrade its existing towers with 5G equipment and provide the same level of coverage people have come to expect from 3G and 4G.

Source: T-Mobile

T-Mobile states that it already covers more than 200 million people in over 5,000 cities with 5G. That’s 60% of the population. If you want to know if you’re covered by this network, check the 5G coverage map to be sure.

While our initial tests don’t show the huge speeds people have come to expect with 5G, this low-band network does show some improvement over LTE and should be able to provide much better coverage in the long run.

It remains to be seen how long it will take for T-Mobile to fully integrate Sprint’s 5G network with its own but it has started with Philadelphia and soon New Your City with new 2.5GHz coverage. This means Philadelphia is the first city to experience part of T-Mobile’s layer cake network with low-band and mid-band 5G. Starting on May 5, 2020, T-Mobile customers in New York with a Galaxy S20+ or Galaxy S20 Ultra will be able to access all three available 5G networks.

T-Mobile is still building a high-band, millimeter wave, 5G network in a few cities. This deployment of 5G is on bands N260 and N261 at 39Ghz and 28Ghz respectively. 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.

I used T-Mobile’s 5G network, and it’s a whole lot like using its 4G network

Which phones work with T-Mobile 5G?

T-Mobile phones will be compatible with different networks depending on their software and hardware.

Device 600MHz 2.5GHz mmWave
LG V60 ThinQ ✔️ ✔️
OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren ✔️ ✔️
OnePlus 8 ✔️ ✔️
Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G ✔️
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G ✔️
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G ✔️ ✔️
Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G ✔️ ✔️ ✔️

Your best bet for compatibility is to go with one of the newest 5G phones from Samsung such as the Galaxy S20+. The smaller Galaxy S20 will have support for the low and mid-band networks but not mmWave. The LG V60 ThinQ 5G has also been confirmed to work with the 2.5GHz spectrum.

T-Mobile is using Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum to bolster its own 5G network and to do so has taken the Sprint 5G network down. Sprint customers with a Galaxy S20 device got an update that enabled access to T-Mobile’s 5G network but that’s it. Older devices like the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G or OnePlus 7T Pro 5G will not be getting an update to support T-Mobile’s 5G. T-Mobile is offering these customers a discounted upgrade to the Galaxy S20 but it is still a drag for those using Sprint 5G.

Source: Android Central

Should you buy a 5G phone in 2020?

Do I need a special T-Mobile 5G plan?

All T-Mobile plans can access the 5G network. T-Mobile makes no distinction between its networks so any customer with a compatible phone should be able to access it. This has also carried over to T-Mobile Prepaid and MVNOs such as Metro by T-Mobile and Google Fi. Sprint has also enabled 5G on all of its plans.

Boost Mobile is now owned by Dish and is transitioning its customers to the new T-Mobile network with the goal of eventually moving all of its customers to its own standalone 5G network.

What tech is T-Mobile using for 5G?

Source: T-Mobile

T-Mobile started with high-band 5G on 28Ghz and 32Ghz bands. With this network, T-Mobile should be competitive with what Verizon and AT&T have been doing once the network has more time to mature. This high-band deployment should be capable of very high speeds but building penetration and coverage are much more limited than we’re used to with 4G.

T-Mobile launched a 600Mhz, low-band, 5G network in December of 2019. With new equipment, T-Mobile was also able to update its 4G LTE service on the same tower. This deployment should sound familiar to 5G enthusiasts since U.S. Cellular announced similar plans this October. AT&T has also followed along with its own low-band 5G deployment starting in late 2019.

Of course, there’s Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum. We got an early look at Sprint’s 5G and while things were promising. T-Mobile has already begun to integrate this spectrum into its network adding more speed and capacity. T-Mobile has more than 160MHz of spectrum at 2.5GHz in the top 100 US markets and has already shut down Sprint’s 5G network so it can continue implementing the spectrum into its network.

What happens to Sprint’s 5G customers?

T-Mobile’s purchase of Sprint is complete and with it comes great potential. Many people will have flashbacks to older failed mergers but T-Mobile points to its well-handled Metro PCS integration as a model for this joining. T-Mobile estimates that fully integrating the networks will take up to three years so however, both Sprint and T-Mobile customers are starting to see some new benefits.

Sprint customers have gained access to LTE roaming on the T-Mobile network when Sprint signal is low. Also, Sprint customers with the Galaxy S20 can now connect to T-Mobile’s 5G network including low-band 600MHz 5G as well as the 2.5GHz 5G network. T-Mobile customers currently can access the 2.5GHz 5G network in New York and Philadelphia.

T-Mobile recently shut down Sprint’s 5G network in order to continue building its own. If you have a Galaxy S20, you still get 5G access but all other Sprint customers with 5G devices will be stuck with LTE. T-Mobile has indicated that it will start by allowing customers to voluntarily transfer to the T-Mobile network if they have a compatible device, but that hasn’t started yet.

Is T-Mobile 5G worth it?

On T-Mobile, it comes down to if you want the phone because there is no current separation of plans. The Samsung Galaxy S20 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 S20 5G is a strong phone, and T-Mobile has even demonstrated speeds over 1Gbps on its predecessor.

While 4G LTE will continue to be fast enough for most people for a few years into the future, eventually everyone will transition to 5G. With the high speeds we’re currently seeing on T-Mobile’s low-band 5G and no solid date for how long it will take to fully integrate the Sprint network, there’s no rush to jump into 5G. That being said, with the newest 5G phones on T-Mobile set to work with both networks when the time comes, if you’re ready for a new phone, 5G is the way to go.

What is 5G for Good?

5G for Good is an initiative to use the power of 5G to help the community. While some people have accused T-Mobile of putting on a show to grease the government’s wheels in approving its merger with Sprint, it’s nice to see technology making a positive impact on the world.

It’s worth noting that all of the projections here depend on the merger going through and T-Mobile likely won’t be able to get it done without the extra spectrum from Sprint.

Connecting Heros Initiative

The Connecting Heroes Initiative is a program that intends to bring free 5G access to first responders in America. This includes both public and non-profit law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies. It’s first-come, first-serve for those that sign up so if you want your agency to get connected on 5G, get registered as soon as possible.

Project 10Million

It’s been shown that children without access to the internet likely won’t receive as good an education as those that do. Of course, this is also linked to income inequality.

Project 10Millions aims to get rid of the homework gap that is caused by millions of children not having access to the internet for school work. The project intends to offer free service, hotspots, and reduced-cost devices to 10 million households over the next five years.

T-Mobile Connect

T-Mobile connect is simply a low-priced phone plan with access to the 5G network. Plans are offered at $15 per month for unlimited talk and text with 2GB of high-speed data. There is also a $25 per month plan with 5GB of data. Interestingly, the plan is set to grow as usage does by increasing the data allowance by 500MB a year for five years. This is by no means a huge amount, but for a low-income family, this can be a lifesaver.

These plans have already been released on T-Mobile prepaid.

The 5G Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Fast, smooth, and cutting edge

Samsung’s new flagship, the Galaxy S20+ supports all of T-Mobile’s 5G bands including Sprint’s 5G bands making it one of the best ways to get connected with 5G. It also has a great set of cameras, a beautiful display with a high refresh rate, and a massive battery.

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