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Price, Plans, Availability & More

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T-Mobile was the first of the three carriers to roll out “Nationwide 5G” in the US. And thanks to its purchase of Sprint, it is better positioned to win the race for 5G, thanks to the much coveted 2.5GHz spectrum that Sprint had. 

T-Mobile rolled out its 5G network nationwide in 2020. And since then, it has continued to build it out, as well as release more and more phones that work on its 5G network. We now have smartphones, tablets, and even hotspots that work on T-Mobile 5G. 

But the real question is just how good is T-Mobile’s 5G?  And how much will it cost you, is it worth switching and more. We’ll aim to answer these questions in this post. So you can learn everything you need to know about T-Mobile and its 5G Network. 

What is T-Mobile 5G? 

T-Mobile 5G is built a bit different than its competitors. For one, it’s using three layers of spectrum for its network. Unlike Verizon and AT&T which are mostly relying on low-band and then mmWave for its network. 

T-Mobile benefited greatly from the 600MHz auction and its merger with Sprint going through. T-Mobile rolled out 5G initially on its 600MHz spectrum, which is why it was able to roll it out nationwide, however the speeds weren’t what we expected from 5G. That’s because this is low-band spectrum which offers some great coverage, but speed (and capacity) suffers here. 

When T-Mobile closed the deal with Sprint, it also got access to a ton of 2.5GHz spectrum, which many carriers were biting at the chomps to get from Sprint. Sprint itself got the spectrum from purchasing Clearwire in the early 2010s. Which is going to help with T-Mobile’s 5G network, adding more capacity without sacrificing coverage as much as mmWave would. 

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What are the layers of T-Mobile’s 5G? 

T-Mobile essentially has three layers of 5G, as illustrated in the picture above. Basically, a low band is what most people will have everywhere. This is a lower frequency that allows for slower speeds but covers more areas. Then there’s mid-band, which partially came from their acquisition of Sprint a few years ago. This is a slightly higher spectrum, which offers faster speeds but covers less area than a low band.

Finally, we have high-band or mmWave. This is going to offer incredibly fast speeds, but the coverage area is really bad. Most carriers – T-Mobile included – are only using this in very high-density areas. Think stadiums, malls, downtown areas, etc.

The combination of these three layers of 5G is able to provide a pretty incredible experience to T-Mobile customers.

What happened to Sprint’s 5G network?

In April 2020, the merger with Sprint was completed. This meant that it was only a matter of time before its 5G network was taken down and integrated into T-Mobile’s network. When the merger was complete, a lot of people were worried that it might end up like the Nextel-Sprint merger in the early 2000s, where Sprint wasn’t able to actually use Nextel’s network for nearly a decade after it purchased the company. 

However, T-Mobile had a good history of merging with other carriers, like MetroPCS. It was able to merge quite nicely with MetroPCS which was also a CDMA carrier – like Verizon and Sprint. 

The early Sprint 5G smartphones no longer work on T-Mobile’s (or Sprint’s) 5G network. We’re talking about the Galaxy S10 5G and Note 10 5G phones. Anything like the Galaxy S20 and newer will still work on T-Mobile’s 5G network, which is good to hear. 

The Sprint 5G network is gone and has been reformed into T-Mobile’s 5G network. If you have a 5G phone and it doesn’t work on T-Mobile, you likely need to get a new one. 

Is there T-Mobile 5G coverage in my area? 

Most likely. Yes. 

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T-Mobile launched 5G in almost every city across the country. This is thanks to the large 600MHz (and in some areas, 700MHz) spectrum that T-Mobile owns.

T-Mobile now shows its “Ultra Capacity 5G” on its coverage map. So you can see where you’ll get faster speeds. This is a 2.5GHz spectrum and not mmWave. So it’ll show larger areas than Verizon would with its mmWave.

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What phones work on T-Mobile’s 5G Network?

Most of the phones on the market right now support T-Mobile’s 5G network. Even if you don’t buy it from T-Mobile. Here are a few options for T-Mobile-branded phones that work on its 5G network: 

Most unlocked phones will also work on T-Mobile’s 5G network. But be sure to check the bands that are being used by T-Mobile before you buy.

The amount of 5G phones will continue to improve over the coming years as more phones become available. 

What plans are available with 5G connectivity?

The skinny here is that all of T-Mobile’s plans work with 5G and come with it included, which means that there’s no extra fee to be able to use 5G on T-Mobile. 

Unlike some of its competitors, T-Mobile does not make any significant distinctions between its networks. So you’ll get 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, or 5G, depending on where you are, on any and all plans. 

We’ve done a full deep dive about the best T-Mobile plans, so you’ll want to check that out. However, the one that will fit most people is going to be the Go5 Plus plan. This plan is $90 per month for a single line and gets cheaper per line with the more lines you add, of course. This plan includes unlimited talk, text, and data, with unlimited premium data and 50GB of premium hotspot data. It also includes Netflix and Apple TV+ “on us”. Making it a pretty attractive plan.

Will T-Mobile 5G give me cancer?

No. 

There have been a lot of conspiracy theories going around the past few years, claiming that 5G is going to penetrate the human body and give us cancer. When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, many tried to claim that 5G caused COVID-19, which is also not true. 

Let’s think about this for a second. The majority of the spectrum being used for 5G is already in use on 4G networks. The only real change here is mmWave. Which is a much higher band of spectrum, and it’s actually really weak. Have you ever wondered why all of those gigabit speed tests on 5G networks only happened outside? That’s because it can’t penetrate through walls to work indoors. At least not yet. 

Yet, people seem to think that mmWave, which can’t even handle some light wind, is going to be able to penetrate the human body. No. It’s not going to. mmWave, can barely handle light wind or a tree getting in its way before disconnecting from your phone. 

This is why it is important to do some research on these theories before spreading them as some of them are pretty idiotic. And spreading fake news is never a good idea. 

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T-Mobile 5G

Is T-Mobile 5G worth it?

T-Mobile’s 5G network has gotten a lot of hate since it launched in 2020. Many complain that it’s the same speed, if not slower than 4G LTE. The reason for that is that it uses the same spectrum as 4G LTE. So yeah, the speed is going to be almost the same. However, those in markets with 2.5GHz and mmWave available are seeing much faster speeds. 

While T-Mobile is continuing to still build out its 5G network, it has done a good job of building it out throughout the United States. So most people have all three layers of T-Mobile 5G, at least available near them. 

At this point, if you’re looking at buying a new phone, make sure it is a 5G one. Especially if you aren’t planning to upgrade for a few years. As 5G is the new thing and 4G will likely be getting axed in a few years. So that spectrum can be used for 5G.

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