Based on prior announcements, it looks like Sprint will be the last of the four major carriers to kick start 5G service in the United States. But at least it now can add on three more big cities it plans to cover within the first half of next year.
The SoftBank-owned network has announced New York City, Phoenix and its hometown of Kansas City will be joining the six regions currently on the list: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. The company has been heavily promoting its leverage of 2.5GHz spectrum, what’s considered mid-band coverage in the more powerful 5G standard.
Sprint and T-Mobile, which have proposed to merge, are continuing on with their own 5G strategies for the time being — the latter has been marketing its recently-acquired 600MHz license acquisitions for widespread coverage. If the two were to merge, T-Mobile’s cell sites would be considered “primary” sites while some Sprint towers will be made redundant and others would be fitted with some T-Mobile radios, though they will keep 2.5GHz. Sprint has the most spectrum in the 2.5GHz band while T-Mobile holds the most in 600MHz.
AT&T will bring 5G to 12 cities within this year while Verizon is targeting fixed internet service for up to 5 markets, including Sacramento. T-Mobile is planning on upgrading 30 cities through 2019, including New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Dallas.