Dec 2, 2019

T-Mobile launches nationwide 5G

Photo Illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

T-Mobile is officially debuting its nationwide 5G service today using its 600 MHz spectrum.

Why it matters: The move allows T-Mobile to claim the broadest 5G coverage, even if that frequency doesn't give the kind of ultra-fast speeds possible using millimeter wave frequencies.

Be smart: High frequency bands, like millimeter wave, can carry data much faster, but only over short distances; lower frequencies can't carry data as fast, but travel farther and pass more easily through walls and other obstacles.

  • T-Mobile also announced the first two devices that will run on the network: the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G.

The big picture: T-Mobile, like other carriers, is also slowly building out high-speed 5G in select metro areas, beginning with parts of six cities launched earlier this year.

Go deeper: 5G is off to a slow start

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5G will see a wide rollout in 2020

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While 5G started to arrive this year, you really had to seek out the next-generation experience: First, you had to find a carrier that covered part of your city, and then you had to buy one of the handful of phones that supported the new network technology.

Why it matters: Next year, the script will flip, as 5G support will be baked into a wide range of devices and networks expand to cover more of the country. Every new generation of cellular technology has an awkward initial phase, but 5G is actually poised to arrive more smoothly than its predecessors.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Scoop: Pentagon proposes sharing wireless spectrum with industry

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Amid an administration-wide push to develop 5G networks, the Defense Department is exploring ways to share spectrum with wireless carriers and other businesses.

Why it matters: Airwaves are limited, and government and industry either have to divvy up the scarce resource or find better ways to share. In the past, the Defense Department has had to relocate communications systems to new airwaves to make room for commercial services, and sharing would help avoid that.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Texas and Nevada exit T-Mobile-Sprint lawsuit

Photo: ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images

Nevada and Texas announced Monday they are dropping out of the suit that seeks to block T-Mobile's acquisition of Sprint. Texas said it got a number of commitments, including an agreement not to raise rates for 5 years and to ensure the state's rural areas have 5G coverage.

Why it matters: The lawsuit from the states is the main remaining hurdle to the deal's closure. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was the only Republican seeking to block the deal.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019