T-Mobile has launched their 5G network in 5 cities now, and of course the world wants to know how it compares to the 5G networks launched by other US carriers. Both Verizon and T-Mobile are utilizing high-frequency millimeter wave for their currently-launched cities, which provides amazing speeds but poor coverage. Early adopters of Verizon’s 5G service have reported results that match up with those limitations: the speeds are extremely fast, but coverage drops off very quickly as you move away from the source and in buildings.
To help with those coverage challenges, T-Mobile will be utilizing their 600MHz spectrum network in conjunction with the the high-frequency bands. The lower frequencies penetrate much better for greater coverage, but can’t provide the download speeds that millimeter wave facilitates.
Testers in New York and Chicago have confirmed that T-Mobile’s speeds are about half that of Verizon’s (although still an enormous leap beyond LTE), but that coverage does seem to be better. This tradeoff is something that users will have to consider as the carriers continue to build out their networks.