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5G

Metro & Simple Mobile Launch Cheaper 5G Plans

With the advent of T-Mobile's 600MHz 5G network, initial pay-as-you-go services using the next-generation network technology have started to arrive.

T-Mobile's own Metro brand came out with its own 5G service on Friday, running on the third-largest US mobile operator's new network. Simple Mobile has also announced its own 5G service on the T-Mobile network.

Pay-as-you-go plans allow you to purchase data (in the case of 5G) on an ad-hoc basis rather than springing for a monthly contract. This type of payment plan doesn't require a credit card, and can help users keep control of monthly costs.

Metro will sell a Samsung Note 10 5G as its first 5G smartphone. The phone normally ships with a hefty price tag of $1,299, but, for a limited time, customers who port their number to Metro and buy the Samsung smartphone can save $300. T-Mobile is also selling the One Plus 7T Pro 5G McLaren edition for $899, but Metro isn't offering this device yet.

Simple Mobile hasn't revealed which devices it will offer, although it will likely follow the Metro route and offer the Samsung Note 10 5G smartphone as its first next-gen device. "Simple Mobile customers with a compatible 5G-capable phone will be able to access the 5G network at no extra cost," said the company in a statement. "Consumers can also utilize the network by switching over to SIMPLE Mobile with their own compatible 5G-capable phone."

Simple says its plans include a range of 30-day service plans starting at $25 with 3GB of 4G LTE data and includes a $40 option with 15GB of 4G LTE data, as well as Truly Unlimited plans at $50 with 5GB of mobile hotspot data and $60 with 15GB of mobile hotspot data, the company says. "The plans are offered at a discount when using auto-pay," a spokesperson tells Light Reading.

Similarly, Metro's plans start at $30 for 2GB of data, providing unlimited smartphone data and 15GB of mobile hotspot data for $60.

Given that T-Mobile says that it won't charge a premium for 5G service, the prices for the Metro and Simple Mobile plans shouldn't change for next-generation network plans.

T-Mobile's 600MHz 5G network is way slower currently than millimeter wave networks from AT&T and Verizon, which reach gigabit speeds but can barely cover a city block with a signal. T-Mobile is reported to offer speeds of 20 Mbit/s to 50 Mbit/s, peaking at 100 Mbit/s, in NYC, according to CNET. T-Mobile's selling point for 5G is offering better-than-4G speeds that can reach more than 200 million people in the US.

Why this matters
These are some of the earliest pay-as-you-go services to arrive on 5G in the US, although even with T-Mobile's slower 5G network you would probably want the higher-priced unlimited plans, so as not to eat up all the data too quickly. Still, even a $60 30-day contract is a pretty keen price for a 5G service.

The problem right now is the $1,299 (or thereabouts) you will need to pony up for the Samsung smartphone to get on the 5G network. Even with the $300 price cut being offered to new Metro customers, this is not an inexpensive device!

Metro and Simple Mobile appear to be positioning themselves for 2020, when a number of cheaper 5G devices are expected to arrive.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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