T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray ripped into AT&T and Verizon in a blog post about their and its own 5G deployment plans. In so doing, it has tacitly confirmed that it will have the first 5G phone to be produced by Samsung, much like the other three carriers have announced.
After pointing out that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had said that a 5G phone would not be “generally useful” in the early stage of network build-out, Ray says:
Add to that all the hyperventilating both Verizon and AT&T did a couple weeks ago trying to lay claim to the first 5G phone – a phone ALL of us are working with this OEM to develop, and ALL of us are going to carry. That’s right, T-Mobile is working on that phone too – and other 5G devices with other OEMs and chipset manufacturers. In fact, we expect to have multiple 5G devices – that will work across multiple spectrum bands – in 2019, which will supercharge the experience for New T-Mobile customers.
The company seems to be intently mum about the device, which was publicly associated with Samsung and has been inferred by the media to be the Galaxy S10. Ray said that the company doesn’t have “time or resources to waste” on making an announcement to the press about this landmark device — which he deems “BS.”
T-Mobile (and the New T-Mobile that may become if regulators approve its merger with Sprint) is being framed to “provide 5G for everyone, everywhere” by focusing on erecting low- and mid-band towers with 600MHz and 2.5GHz for coverage. While millimeter wave does provide a jackpot of bandwidth and speed, it hasn’t been a prominent part of the Un-carrier’s plans unlike with AT&T and Verizon — their coverage will be sparse and intensely concentrated in the initial stages.
That said, it was explained at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit that the Snapdragon X50 modem would not be able to support 5G traffic on the 600MHz band — leaving T-Mobile’s strategy lagging unless it is able to consummate and apprehend Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum — leaving the millimeter wave leaders with the advantage of market presence and some room to grow with low-band spectrum.