T-Mobile says it will begin launching its 5G U.S. network in the first half of the year — and it might not cost any more than currently available plans.
The news comes in the wake of rumors that T-Mobile may be delaying the launch of its first 5G networks until the second half of 2019. But in a clarified statement to PC Mag, the Uncarrier said it does indeed intend to launch 5G in the first half of the year.
Previously, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray gave PC Mag mixed signals about the firm’s 5G launch date. He said that they would “like to” launch in the first half the year, but noted that the telecom company was still “trailing and experimenting.”
For the most part, that was likely due to spectrum licensing and chipset availability. Chips that support longer-range 600MHz won’t launch until later this year. Instead, T-Mobile’s initial 5G rollout would be limited to short-range 28GHz spectrum.
Ray also threw some shade at the 5G rollouts of AT&T and Verizon. In AT&T’s case, he said that “software quality was incredibly poor, propagation was very limited, and the number of customers that you could support on a given radio was de minimis.”
For comparison’s sake, the Uncarrier CTO said that he wants T-Mobile’s 5G networks to launch more broadly in a way “that would actually encourage plenty of people to use it.”
On the other hand, T-Mobile was much more willing to make a firmer promise on price.
The firm said that unlimited 5G service plans will be available, and they won’t be more expensive than existing 4G unlimited plans — at least for three years. As PC Mag points out, that means that an unlimited 5G plan may cost no more than $70 per line.
That pledge is not precisely new, however. T-Mobile had previously promised not to increase consumer prices for three years as just part of a larger effort to win approval for its merger with Sprint.