After months of speculation, T-Mobile’s 5G network will go live Friday (June 28) in six cities: Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.
T-Mobile was the first to say that this 5G rollout is “extremely limited.” The company even published coverage maps showing where Galaxy S10 5G buyers will have the strongest 5G signal. T-Mobile wasn’t joking: The coverage is indeed extremely limited.
In Las Vegas, a few pockets around the Strip and downtown are lit up, but don’t expect a strong signal at the blackjack tables. In L.A., the strongest concentration of 5G is in downtown (so no superfast speeds at the beach). T-Mobile appears to have blanketed much of lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn with 5G, which we plan to put to the test when the phone goes on sale.
The maps are useful for knowing where exactly your phone will catch a 5G signal. Sprint was the first carrier to publish an overview of its 5G coverage areas, which are more widespread than T-Mobile’s but may be slower because Sprint’s 5G network is built on mid-band spectrum. That means it’s more reliable, but in our testing the 5G phone we used never reached the gigabit speeds that an S10 5G we tested on Verizon’s mmWave 5G network did.
T-Mobile’s 5G reach isn’t very extensive because the carrier, like Verizon, is only using its millimeter-wave spectrum — for now. T-Mobile’s 5G network will eventually be built on a combination of mmWave and low-band spectrum. That’s one of the reasons T-Mobile is angling to merge with Sprint. Together, the carriers are promising to offer a more robust, widespread 5G network to compete with AT&T and Verizon.
Be sure to check out our Galaxy S10 5G review to see how it performed on Verizon's network (and what we think of the phone overall) and head over to our T-Mobile 5G hub page to get up to speed on the carrier's full 5G rollout plans.
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Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.