T-Mobile to Roll Out 5G in 30 US Cities in 2018

BARCELONA -- MWC 2018 -- T-Mobile pumped the gas on its mobile 5G deployment plans on Tuesday evening -- promising to introduce a next-gen network supporting both high- and low-band 5G in 30 cities in the US in 2018 -- but it won't go commercial with service until devices are available in 2019.

T-Mobile US Inc. 's CTO Neville Ray told reporters in Barcelona Tuesday that the "Un-carrier" will deploy 5G on 600MHz, 28GHz and 39GHz frequencies in those cities this year, including New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Dallas.

The infrastructure will be split "roughly 50/50" between Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). For instance, he said, NYC is an Ericsson city, while Nokia will handle Dallas. (See Nokia makes 5G waves with its ReefShark chip and T-Mobile, Nokia Start Nationwide US 5G Rollout.)

The 600MHz push has already started with "5G-ready" LTE upgrades in the field. The millimeter-wave infrastructure updates will have to wait a little longer, as Ray explained to Light Reading after the press conference.

"To be honest, standards-based 39GHz and 28GHz gear will only be coming in the fourth quarter of this year," the CTO noted. He claimed that T-Mobile has 200MHz of millimeter wave spectrum "across dense urban pops" to play with.

Initially, T-Mobile plans to deploy mmWave to add speed and capacity in urban areas, while Ray acknowledged that 5G small cells might only see a coverage range with 200 meters.

He was also cautious about what exact speeds mobile 5G will offer initially. "I don't know," he said in response to questions, while suggesting that competitors may be over-promising with talk of "multi-gigabit" speeds. Ray suggested he "would love to see" a tripling of average 4G LTE speeds with the initial 5G service.

"Are we going to see average speeds move up by tens of megabits per second? For sure," he said. But he noted that he couldn't promise this would be consistent, at least initially.

"There's a lot to learn" with millimeter wave, he stated, which is partly why T-Mobile is going to deploy in NYC and other big cities, rather than smaller markets, at first.

Ray couldn't resist taking a pop at AT&T's announced mobile 5G plans at the press conference: "Why are we in New York and not Waco? Because New York matters."

As for delivering a commercial 5G service with devices that can run on the network, Ray stated that he was "confident" that "by this time next year," 5G smartphones will be available.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Joe Stanganelli 2/28/2018 | 10:19:10 PM
Re: Cat People @TV: Sure, but highways are still more densely populated around cities than in rural areas.

Coverage is more essential on the stretches of I-95 near, say, Boston and New York than, say parts of I-95 several miles north of Portland, Maine.
Joe Stanganelli 2/28/2018 | 10:17:03 PM
Re: Cat People @Dan: Of course, while Waco is hardly one of the major metros of the country, it's far from a lemonade stand -- hosting a respectable six-figure population.

As far as rural areas getting mmWave... everything when it comes to connectivity infrastructure is so politicized right now that I suspect a lot of prioritizations by policymakers will be backwardly focused.
TV Monitor 2/28/2018 | 2:23:16 PM
Re: Cat People DanJones

"it makes no sense deploying mmWave commercially outside of cities."

You are forgetting highways.

Kids in the backseat need their fix of 4K Netflix and Youtube streaming while going.

This is probably the easiest revenue generators for carriers.
mendyk 2/28/2018 | 10:22:11 AM
Re: Cat People If almost every part of the country that isn't New York hates New York, why does it take a half-hour to take what should be a 10-minute walk through the Times Square area?
DanJones 2/28/2018 | 12:19:43 AM
Re: Cat People Ironically rural America probably has more chance of getting 600MHz eventually, it makes no sense deploying mmWave commercially outside of cities.
Joe Stanganelli 2/27/2018 | 11:12:16 PM
Cat People "T-Mobile pumped the gas on its mobile 5G deployment plans on Tuesday evening"

Appropriately, now I have David Bowie stuck in my head.

As for the New York vs. Waco snark, they pretty much alienated not just Waco but every New York-hating part of the country (i.e., almost every part of the country that isn't New York).
mendyk 2/27/2018 | 2:19:42 PM
Good one The funniest words in this post are, "To be honest..."
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