T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G service went live on Friday, and reports and reviews from early adopters are now rolling in.
While T-Mobile has promoted that their 5G service will be significantly faster than LTE (although not as fast as Verizon’s or AT&T’s 5G service, due to the frequencies being used), initial reports indicate that the real-world performance may not actually be dramatically better than LTE. A reviewer from CNET testing the service in New York City reported 5G download speeds between 20Mbps and 50Mbps, with some peaks above 100Mbps, but noted that his LTE speeds at the same locations were very similar. Their tester in Maui reported slightly more exciting results, regularly seeing 5G download speeds 100Mbps with peaks of 256Mbps, while their LTE speeds averaged lower and peaked at just 131Mbps.
For comparison, users of Verizon’s 5G network in New York often see speeds of 1Gbps outdoors. However, the coverage is poor and users can only access that type of service in a very limited range. T-Mobile’s 5G coverage and building penetration is much better, with users reporting similar 5G speeds indoors vs outdoors and no trouble maintaining connection as they moved around town.
T-Mobile’s 5G coverage seems to be living up to the company’s promises, which is a big advantage over other carriers. With regard to speed, though, it may not be worth upgrading from an LTE device just yet.
Two years ago, the Department of Justice launched an investigation into whether Verizon, AT&T, and the GSM Association worked together to limit eSIM technology (electronic, or embedded SIM ). The New York Times reports that the Department of Justice is closing the investigation as they have found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The DOJ was initially concerned that AT&T and Verizon attempted to lock devices on their networks even if the device had an eSIM. But the parties have agreed to change how they determine standards for eSIM, which will allow consumers to use eSIM to switch carriers, rather than having to insert a new SIM card. And as a result, the Department of Justice is dropping the investigation.
Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), part of Amazon.com, has announced their latest service: AWS Wavelength, which will give developers the ability to build applications for end-users with single-digit millisecond latencies over 5G. Wavelength incorporates the power of AWS with the advantage of Verizon’s 5G network, so developers can segment out the parts of their application that require ultra-low latency within the 5G network, and connect back to the rest of their application running in AWS. Applications requiring the lowest possible latency include things like smart cars, virtual reality, and autonomous equipment and vehicles.
AWS has partnered with Verizon to make AWS Wavelength available in the U.S. and Wavelength is available not as a pilot project to select users in Chicago. Other 5G providers have been selected to work with AWS to bring Wavelength to other parts of the world.
“With Wavelength, we bring 5G and cloud together to give our customers the powerful new capability to run cloud services consistently within a few milliseconds of mobile end-users,” said Matt Garman, AWS Vice President Compute Services. “This is a game changer for developers that is going to unlock a whole new generation of applications and services. We are really excited to see our customers innovate with these unique new capabilities that they did not have access to before.”
T-Mobile has flipped the switch on its 5G network, setting it live over areas of the USA that it says covers 200 million people. While the network is supposedly online today, no one is going to be using it until the 6th of December as the first two phones to support it go on sale this Friday.
The “nationwide” 5G deployment relies on a slower form of 5G, using T-Mobile’s 600MHz spectrum. This “low-band” 5G essentially takes airwaves like the ones used for LTE and bundles them together with some new technology to deliver faster throughput speeds.
AT&T has made splashes about 5G in the past by showing customers a “5GE” icon on their phone (which is still just LTE service) and by launching their mmWave 5G+ service, which is available only to businesses and has very limited coverage. Now they are finally ready to bring true 5G service to customers, with the announcement that they will launch 5G in five cities this December.
Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rochester, and San Diego are the lucky cities that will be getting AT&T 5G in December. Customers in those markets will need a Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G phone activated on one of two unlimited plans in order to use the service.
AT&T has also promised to launch 5G in 10 more cities by February of 2020: Birmingham, Boston, Bridgeport, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Louisville, Milwaukee, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose.
President Donald Trump said today he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook to request that he help develop telecommunications infrastructure for 5G networks in the U.S.
“They have it all – Money, Technology, Vision & Cook!” Trump tweeted.
Trump has said before that the United States intended to deploy 5G services quickly and that they plan to cooperate with “like-minded nations” to promote security in 5G networks. Mobile operators need to upgrade their networks with 5G gear, mostly made by China’s Huawei Technologies, who is currently not in favor with the US government. The United States has been asking other countries not to grant Huawei access to future 5G networks, citing spying concerns.
Congress is considering legislation that would authorize up to $1 billion for smaller wireless providers to replace network equipment from Huawei and ZTE, citing national security concerns. Development and investment from Apple into 5G infrastructure would provide an alternative to the manufacturers the US is hoping to avoid having to allow.
Verizon launched their 5G service in three new cities today, bringing their total number of cities with 5G to eighteen. Boston, Houston, and Sioux Falls are the latest markets to be lit up with Verizon 5G.
“We are building our 5G Ultra Wideband network to support the type of transformative breakthroughs people imagine when they think of next-generation connectivity,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer, in a press release today.
Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service can be utilized in limited areas of the three new cities. In Boston, users will find 5G in the Fenway area as well as around Northeastern University. Houston users will find 5G in East Downtown, Uptown, Greenway Plaza, the Museum District and Rice Village, and around landmarks like The Galleria Mall, NRG Stadium, BBVA Compass Stadium and Rice University Stadium. In Sioux Falls, Verizon 5G subscribers will find the service in the downtown area around landmarks like Levitt at the Falls, the Orpheum Theatre, Washington Pavilion, the State Theatre, and the US Federal Courthouse.
Verizon plans to launch 5G in 30 cities around the country by the end of 2019.
The FCC announced on Monday that it will publicly auction off a valuable telecommunications asset, in a move that investors viewed as a strike to U.S. satellite communications provider Intelsat.
Intelsat shares of dropped 40% in hefty trading after Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said in a tweet that his agency “must free up significant spectrum” for 5G telecommunications. The FCC told CNBC that it expects an auction to happen “before the end of 2020.”
C-band spectrum is a key telecommunications wavelength for the FCC regulators. Four satellite operators, including Intelsat, provide C-band services in the U.S. to about 120 million households. The FCC wants to repurpose the C-band spectrum for 5G and an auction is expected to raise tens of billions of dollars. But a public auction would see the proceeds go to the government.
As an incentive towards gaining support and approval for their merger with Sprint, T-Mobile has announced a plan called the “Connecting Heroes Initiative” to provide free service to first responders for 10 years. The program would include unlimited talk, text and 5G smartphone data to every public and nonprofit state and local law enforcement, fire and EMS first responder agency across the country.
“First responders are under more pressure than ever before. With the 5G network New T-Mobile will create, we can do our part to help say thanks,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said.
T-Mobile’s offer will only come to fruition if the pending Sprint merger closes, and there may be limitations on the number of lines or the streaming video quality. More details will likely be available as the merger moves through the courts and FCC for approval.
It takes billions of dollars to install fiber cabling in the ground, Fiber originally was the only way to deliver ultra-fast internet speeds to residential homes. The prohibitive cost has stopped some of the largest companies in the world from making a national dent in constructing high-speed broadband networks, including Verizon and Google. But Verizon and AT&T already plan to roll out 5G fixed broadband services in cities across the U.S., using wireless technology to compete with cable companies to provide ultra-fast home internet.
The CEO of Common Networks Zach Brock. The company he founded with three other ex-Square employees. For about $50 a month, Common Networks is offering 300Mb/sec to 1Gb/sec download speeds for households around Silicon Valley and Alameda (Oakland is coming soon). That’s about $20 or $30 less per month than what Comcast charges for about the same speed without promotional pricing