T-Mobile's Metro prepaid wireless service commits to 5G in 2019

Meanwhile, Metro's new unlimited plans are launching today.

Roger Cheng/CNET

T-Mobile's newly rebranded prepaid service, Metro, is jumping on the 5G bandwagon too. 

The service, rebranded from MetroPCS, launched with new plans on Monday. But the company also said at an event at Grand Central Terminal in New York that it's committing to offering 5G for Metro next year. 

"When we talk about 5G for all, it's not just nationwide 5G service, but it's all shades of T-Mobile, magenta and purple," said Neville Ray, chief technology officer at T-Mobile. Metro's branding revolves around purple  

5G is the all the rage in the wireless industry as carriers hype the capabilities that come with a faster, more responsive network. It has the potential to power other technologies like self-driving cars and the internet of things, once it actually gets turned on. While there are some 5G deployments this year, customers will more likely get a chance to experience it next year with broader deployment.

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T-Mobile has committed to launching 5G service in 30 cities next year. Metro customers will also get access to 5G in those areas as well. 

Bringing 5G to prepaid so quickly is a break from industry convention. When 4G LTE and WiMax were new, they were kept to the core national carriers to maintain that premium feature feel. It wasn't until the networks were more fully deployed that 4G capabilities trickled down to prepaid services, which generally cater to customers with low or no credit scores. 

But T-Mobile is in the middle of rebranding its Metro by T-Mobile service to more closely align it with its parent. Metro launched new unlimited data plans on Monday, with some tiers offering Google One cloud storage and Amazon Prime membership.

"Today, a new chapter begins," said Josh Curry, vice president of marketing for Metro, at the event.

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