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T-Mobile launches its nationwide 5G network that you can’t use until Friday, at the earliest

Updated Dec 4th, 2019 12:33AM EST
T-Mobile nationwide 5G
Image: Utrecht Robin/action press/REX/Shutterstock

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T-Mobile kicked off the week with a milestone achievement, becoming the first US carrier to claim to have launched a nationwide 5G network that T-Mobile says covers an estimated 200 million people. According to a coverage map T-Mobile shared Monday as part of its announcement, the new network utilizing 600 MHz spectrum from T-Mobile encompasses more than 60% of the US population across more than 1 million square miles, much of which would cover rural America.

What T-Mobile’s announcement leaves out — the carrier won’t begin selling phones that support that network until Friday, when the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition ($899.99) and the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G ($1,299.99) will both go on sale for T-Mobile customers.

Of course, this is a T-Mobile announcement, which means that most of the bullet points in the press release also take shots at rivals like Verizon (Like here — “T-Mobile’s 5G goes through walls. Verizon’s 5G gets blocked by things like walls, windows, and leaves.” Also, here — “Verizon and AT&T (5G) only work in parts of some cities and won’t say how many square miles (yards? feet?) they cover.” ). If you’re so intrigued, meanwhile, you can head over to to check out an interactive, zoomable coverage map to see down to the neighborhood-level who will get 5G coverage, and where.

Image source: T-Mobile

“At T-Mobile, we built 5G that works for more people in more places, and this is just the start,” T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray said in a statement about the launch. “With the New T-Mobile, we’ll see 5G speeds follow the same path as LTE, increasing exponentially over time. Plus, real broad and deep 5G will unleash whole new categories of innovation that will touch almost every area of the economy.”

Monday’s announcement doesn’t get into specifics on the actual speeds you’ll be able to enjoy with the new network. And not only that, performance will also seemingly vary by location — a T-Mobile spokesman told The Verge that in some places, 600 MHz 5G “will be a lot faster than LTE. In others, customers won’t see as much difference.”

T-Mobile says that both of the 5G phones we mentioned above which launch at the end of this week will be able to tap into the new 5G network where available and will work on T-Mobile’s nationwide LTE network everywhere else. Additionally, if the carrier’s merger with Sprint closes, both phones are also ready to support Sprint’s 5G spectrum where available.

To celebrate the 5G network launch, T-Mobile is offering the following deal: Customers can get the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren for free with 24 bill credits when they switch to T-Mobile and trade in an eligible phone. Alternatively, they can get a Note10+ 5G for free with 36 bill credits when they buy another and add a line (two lines for new customers).

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.