T-Mobile's 5G network makes early appearance in New York

The first signs of T-Mobile's 5G have finally appeared.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
2 min read
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T-Mobile's 5G network is starting to pop up in New York. 

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AT&T , Verizon and Sprint have all either launched or are about to launch their respective 5G networks. One carrier that has been quiet, however, is  T-Mobile

While the self-proclaimed "Un-carrier" has been quiet about its exact 5G launch plans, the first signs of the new network seem to have popped up in New York. 

Milan Milanović, who works for Speedtest.net owner Ookla, has apparently been able to get the nascent network up and running on an unlocked Verizon Galaxy S10 5G with a T-Mobile SIM card

Sharing images and videos on Twitter, the results seem impressive with downloads hovering close to 500Mbps. While that's not as fast as the over-1Gbps speeds CNET's Jessica Dolcourt experienced when she tested Verizon's S10 5G in Chicago earlier in May, Verizon's network has already been live for over a month while T-Mobile's is still unannounced.

When contacted by CNET, T-Mobile repeated its prior stance that it will launch a 5G network when it has 5G phones. "T-Mobile will launch 5G when compatible smartphones are available and ready for our customers," a T-Mobile spokesperson said. 

T-Mobile's initial 5G network appears to use mmWave technology, the same 5G tech used by AT&T and Verizon in their current, respective 5G networks. The similar network tech explains why the unlocked Galaxy S10 5G phone appears capable of tapping into T-Mobile's 5G network. 

AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all said that they will carry the Galaxy S10 5G this year. 

Watch this: See Galaxy S10 5G's jaw-dropping real-world speeds

T-Mobile said last year that New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas would be among the first to get its 5G network. T-Mobile has mmWave spectrum in eight to 10 cities around the country, though it's not clear where exactly those holdings are.  

In addition to mmWave, T-Mobile also plans to launch a wider 5G network on its lower-band spectrum in 30 cities later in 2019. While mmWave is great for high-speeds in urban environments, it struggles when it comes to covering large areas. Phones that support both technologies aren't expected to be available until later this year (the Galaxy S10 5G only supports mmWave).  

The T-Mobile 5G appearance comes as Sprint prepares to launch its first 5G devices on Friday. Sprint uses midband spectrum for its 5G network, which T-Mobile has argued it needs to launch a truly robust nationwide 5G network. T-Mobile is currently trying to merge with Sprint in a $26 billion deal. 

"We plan to have 5G nationwide in 2020," the T-Mobile spokesperson said. "And if regulators approve the merger with Sprint, the New T-Mobile will deliver a supercharged 5G network with exponentially faster speeds and greater capacity than today!"

From Apple to Samsung: 5G phones available right now

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