T-Mobile Says 30 Cities Will Be 5G-Ready By 2018

Neville Ray

Manu Fernandez/AP Images for T-Mobile

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AT&T and Sprint’s 5G rollout plans have been freshly announced. But T-Mobile wants consumers to know that it isn’t falling behind — and that it might even one-up its competitors.

T-Mobile said it is laying the groundwork infrastructure for 5G networks in 30 cities by the end of 2018, the Uncarrier said in a press release. More than that, T-Mobile is touting that its customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas will be among the first to get actual 5G networks early next year.

And, unlike AT&T, T-Mobile says that it is rolling out 5G infrastructure in denser locations. “Why are we in New York and not Waco? Because New York matters,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray boasted at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today (as heard by The Verge). For context, AT&T announced that it’s launching 5G in Waco, Dallas and Atlanta.

To be clear, even T-Mobile’s representatives are admitting that the 30 cities will only be “5G-ready” by the end of the year. None of them will actually have a workable 5G network. But T-Mobile is placing its bets on the fact that 5G isn’t going to matter until there are popular smartphones on the market that can utilize it.

Uncarrier CEO John Legere criticized AT&T and Verizon’s announced 5G networks in a press release. “Their so-called 5G isn’t mobile, and it’s not even on a smartphone,” he said. “While (they) focus on bragging rights, we focus on customers.”

In that sense, Legere said his telecom company is playing the “long game” by focusing on an actual mobile-ready 5G network — and he isn’t wrong. Verizon is focusing on home broadband 5G in 2018, not mobile 5G. Sprint said it’ll only have “5G-like” networks this year. And even though AT&T’s actual 5G network will be available this year, smartphones that can use it won’t launch until 2019.

It’s, no doubt, a case of the big four telecom companies wanting to be “first.” That’s good press for them. Either way, their competitiveness is good for consumers. It means that 5G — which is largely expected to revolutionize the technology and consumer electronic fields — could be here sooner than we might think.

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