T-Mobile promised it will offer wider nationwide coverage over its super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G network by the end of 2021, and it delivered. The Un-carrier just sent us a presser indicating that its mid-band 5G network now covers 200 million Americans, way ahead of the year’s end goal. That’s not the even faster mmWave 5G that Verizon calls Ultrawide Band and is also deployed by AT&T, but rather the bands that T-Mobile inherited from Sprint.
Still, what T-Mobile calls Ultra Capacity 5G is way zippier than its “Nationwide” 5G that barely measures up to Verizon or AT&T’s 4G LTE network in speeds, let alone coverage. The Achilles heel of mmWave networks like Verizon’s that are nominally speedier than what T-Mobile has deployed, is their minuscule coverage. Base stations have to be situated every 1000 feet or so in dense urban areas, whereas Sprint’s mid- and T-Mobile’s low- and mid-bands can produce signal that travels much farther.
This is how T-Mobile built a wider 5G network so fast that it now blankets 200 million people with something nominally faster than 4G LTE. According to Anshel Sag, Principal Analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy: “T-Mobile is more than a year ahead of its competition with the deployment of its Ultra Capacity 5G mid-band spectrum and is rolling it out at an unprecedented pace. While T-Mobile already has the best 5G coverage in the nation, the company has also made considerable gains in speeds thanks to the rapid nationwide rollout of its mid-band 5G network, which delivers a real, meaningful performance boost.”
Needless to say, 200 million people is the easy number, reached by using mid-band Sprint spectrum in densely populated areas like big cities. Delivering anything faster to rural areas with the limited range that the mid-band allows compared to 4G LTE or even T-Mobile’s low-band “Nationwide 5G” will take much more time.
Still, the Un-carrier has “plans to reach 300 million people (more than 90% of Americans) in the next two years
,” as that’s one of the Sprint merger promises
it will have to ultimately keep.