T-Mobile on Wednesday announced a much wider rollout of its 2.5GHz midband 5G coverage, adding 81 new cities and towns to a total list of 90 markets throughout the US.
Midband 5G is much faster and more appropriately fitting of the 5G moniker than the type of low-band 5G we’ve seen from AT&T and T-Mobile and more reliable than high-band mmWave 5G, which is used primarily by Verizon, although AT&T and T-Mobile also have limited support. (mmWave 5G is ultra-fast but has poor range.) T-Mobile also has low-band and mmWave coverage, but the company is touting its three-layer approach of low-, mid-, and high-band 5G as its edge over the competition.
“This is our 5G strategy in action. Mid-band is the 5G spectrum, and T-Mobile has more of it than anyone. We have nearly twice as much low and mid-band spectrum as AT&T and nearly triple that of Verizon,” says Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s president of technology. “And that means T-Mobile is the only one capable of making the world’s best 5G network a reality.”
T-Mobile promises up to gigabit speeds in certain conditions, but you’re more likely to get average download speeds of around 300Mbps, the company says. That is still many times faster than current LTE.
The company began this rollout last year, following its approved merger with Sprint when the two companies began combining networks, with T-Mobile shutting down Sprint’s own 2.5GHz midband 5G network in July. That left T-Mobile with only nine markets of midband 5G coverage scattered among major US cities — until today. Check out a full list of coverage here.
The rollout of 5G networks in the US has been a messy and confusing process, but it’s starting to finally come together as AT&T, the newly merged T-Mobile and Sprint, and Verizon bring more cities up to speed and broaden their coverage with multiple bands of spectrum. 5G phones are also now more widely available, with Apple slated to enter the market later this year with its next iPhone rumored to carry 5G modems inside.