Mar 12, 2021 - Technology

T-Mobile promises faster 5G this year

Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

Photo: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

T-Mobile on Thursday pledged that 200 million people in the U.S. will have access to a fast version of 5G wireless service by the end of the year, a far larger number than can be expected from AT&T or Verizon.

Why it matters: Long the upstart challenger, T-Mobile has a strong network story when it comes to 5G, thanks to its possession of a key swath of mid-band spectrum —which offers a good balance of faster speed and decent coverage compared to other chunks of airwaves.

The big picture: Each of the major carriers is making fresh 5G commitments this week, increasing the number of people they hope to reach with different flavors of the high-speed wireless technology.

  • Verizon detailed its 5G plans on Wednesday, including how it plans to use the $53 billion in spectrum it bought in a recent government auction as the airwaves become available. It plans to offer midband service in 46 markets this year, per CNET.
  • AT&T holds its investor event Friday. It has been faster than Verizon at rolling out broad 5G coverage, but not as fast as T-Mobile. Also, like Verizon, it is relying on just-acquired midband spectrum to build out its network.

Meanwhile: T-Mobile also boosted its expected cost savings from the Sprint merger. Executive VP John Freier said that won't necessarily mean job cuts, as much of the savings have come from network redundancies and closing retail locations.

  • T-Mobile plans to open at least 200 more stores this year as it expands into more rural and suburban areas, Freier said.

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