With all the streaming, gaming and downloading people are doing on their phones today, its vital that wireless carriers having a plan for delivering even faster speeds tomorrow.
And after recently winning an auction for a nationwide swath of 600 MHz spectrum, T-Mobile may be taking an early lead as the first carrier to officially announce plans for its 5G network.
However, while this sounds all nice and futuristic, it’s important to remember we’re still years away from widespread availability of a real 5G network. In fact, depending on who you ask, it's not even clear what 5G even means, because organizational bodies such as the International Telecommunications Union have yet to finalize the specs and standards for how 5G networks will operate.
It’s not like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint aren’t thinking about 5G either, as each of the four largest carriers have announced plans to test 5G tech at some point in 2017.
Where T-Mobile differs from its competitors, though, is that its newly acquired 600 MHz spectrum features greater range than some of the higher-frequency bands used by Verizon and others. So instead of having big “bubbles” of 5G that cover major metropolitan areas like New York or Chicago, T-Mobile claims that its 5G network will offer true nationwide coverage that extends deep into less populated areas.
The promise of 5G includes data speeds at up to one gigabit per second, reduced latency and increased bandwidth for more users across the entire network. T-Mobile is hoping to roll out its 5G network by 2019, with full nationwide availability coming later in 2020.