Everything You Need to Know About T-Mobile's 5G Network
T-Mobile's 5G Network
T-Mobile is leading the 5G race. Not only do they offer the most 5G coverage, but recent reports rank it #1 in speed also. Their goal is to build the most transformative 5G network that’ll offer reliable connectivity for all people and things. Let’s take a closer look at their 5G offerings.
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T-Mobile's 5G Spectrum Layer Cake: Low-Band, Mid-Band, & High-Band
5G comes in three different layers: low-band (<1GHz), mid-band (between 1 GHz and 6 GHz), and high-band (>24 GHz). Each layer offers different speeds, coverage, and capacity. To deliver #5GForALL, T-Mobile took a “layer cake approach” to 5G.
T-Mobile began building out the foundation of the cake using the 600 MHz low-band spectrum to provide nationwide 5G coverage. During that time AT&T was focused on marketing 4G as 5G and Verizon on the mmWave of 5G.
Low-Band 5G signals can travel long distances and penetrate obstacles pretty well. Though, they don’t offer super-fast speeds. T-Mobile claims its low-band speeds can range from 30-75 Mbps. The 600 MHz Low-Band 5G network launched on Dec 2, 2019, covering more than 200 million people and over 5,000 cities and towns.
In April 2020, the middle layer of the cake was added. It’s comprised of the 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum, which was acquired through the Sprint merger. This layer is very important for 5G, as it’s the Goldilocks band. It offers much faster speeds than low-band and more coverage range than high-band. Speed may range between 115-223 Mbps.
Within the next few years, T-Mobile's mid-band is expected to grow. Through actions, they’ve acquired 3.45 GHz and 3.7 GHz (C-Band) spectrum that has yet to debut.
The cake topper is high-band, also called mmWave. T-Mobile's high-band is made up of 24 GHz, 28 GHz, and 39 GHz spectrum. They’ve also bought spectrum in the 37 GHz and 47 GHz bands. These signals have insane capacity and speed that can range from 450 Mbps to 1+ Gbps. However, mmWave signals can't travel far nor penetrate obstacles. Main use cases will be in densely populated urban areas and busy venues.
What 5G Frequencies Does T-Mobile Use?
Each carrier uses different sets of frequencies for their 5G networks. T-Mobile uses:
|Low-Band 5G Frequencies||Mid-Band 5G Frequencies||High-Band 5G Frequencies|
|600 MHz: Band n71||2.5 GHz: Band n41
3.45 GHz: Band n2 (Pending Deployment)
3.7 GHz: Band n77 (Pending Deployment)
|24 GHz: Band n258
28 GHz: Band n261
37 GHz (Pending Deployment)
39 GHz: Band n260
47 GHz: Band n262 (Pending Deployment)
How is T-Mobile's 5G Network Different from AT&T and Verizon?
Unlink Verizon 5G and AT&T 5G, T-Mobile's 5G network is built on dedicated – not shared – spectrum.
AT&T and Verizon both use a technology called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS). It allows their low-band and some mid-band 5G frequencies to coexist amongst 4G frequencies. This means 5G and 4G share bandwidth, which impacts capacity and speed. T-Mobile describes it as “forcing more traffic into the same number of lanes”.
That is not the case with T-Mobile. They are adding exclusive lanes for 5G traffic to their network. This allows their network to support more devices at the same time and deliver faster speeds.
T-Mobiles 5G Network Terminology: Extended Range vs Ultra Capacity
With there being different “layers” of 5G, all carriers use different names when referring to their 5G networks.
T-Mobile markets its new generation network as Extended Range (XR) 5G and Ultra Capacity (UC) 5G.
Extended Range 5G refers to T-Mobile's Low-Band 5G network. It’s not to be confused with Extended Range LTE. The main difference between the two is that XR 5G is 2x faster. Ultra Capacity 5G refers to T-Mobiles' faster mid- and high-band networks.
The icon on your 5G-compatible device will change depending on which network you’re connected to. A standard 5G icon indicates you’re connected to Extended Range 5G. AT&T and Verizon use the same icon for their Low-Band 5G networks. When connected to Ultra Capacity 5G, the icon will change to 5G UC. AT&T uses “5G+” and Verizon uses “5G UW or 5G UWB” for their Mid- and High-Band 5G networks.
T-Mobile's 5G Phones and Plans
To access T-Mobile's 5G network, you need a 5G-compatible device and plan.
T-Mobile has a ton of 5G devices from Samsung, Apple, Google, OnePlus, LG, Motorola, and more. You can view all their 5G devices here. Pair it with a 5G plan, and you'll be able to enjoy better signal and faster speeds anywhere 5G is available.
All T-Mobile plans include Extended Range 5G and Ultra Capacity 5G access at no extra cost. Some carriers, like Verizon, allow access to all three 5G layers on some plans and only low-band access on others. It’s always important to read the fine print.
Here is a snapshot of T-Mobile's unlimited talk, text, and data 5G plans:
For more information on T-Mobile's plans, click here.
T-Mobile's 5G Coverage Map
T-Mobile has the largest 5G coverage in terms of area. They offer more 5G coverage than Verizon and AT&T.
Their initial 5G launch covered over 200 million people across 1 million square miles. In two years, their coverage has continued to expand.
As of Sep 2022, their Extended Range 5G network covered over 320 million people across 1.8 million square miles. Their Ultra Capacity 5G network covered 235 million people nationwide, and it's expected to cover over 300 million in 2023. Though, it’s still not available everywhere.
Easily check if T-Mobile's 5G reaches your neck of the woods via their 5G coverage map. Though, you won't find cell tower location information. If that's something you're interested in, click here to find a T-Mobile cell tower near you.
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
T-Mobile also offers 5G Home Internet, available to more than 30 million households nationwide. After signing up, you’ll receive a 5G Gateway (router and modem combo device) in the mail. Installation is quick and easy. Within 15 minutes all devices in your home or office will receive reliable WiFi 6 connectivity.
The Gateway picks up 5G signals and converts them into fast, reliable WiFi. If 5G isn't available in your area, it also works with 4G and LTE signals. Speed will vary depending on your signal environment. Subscribers typically see download speeds between 33-182 Mbps and upload speeds between 6-23 Mbps.
Service is only $50 a month with autopay. There are no hidden fees, no price hikes, no annual contracts, and no data caps. Compared to the competition, T-Mobiles 5G home internet is very affordable. It’s a phenomenal option for those in areas where traditional internet is unavailable or too expensive.
Do Signal Boosters Work with T-Mobile 5G?
While you may live in a 5G area, sometimes cell tower distance and building material prevent you from enjoying reliable 5G indoors. The best solution for situations like these are cell phone signal boosters. They’re designed to capture existing cell signals operating on certain frequencies, boosting them, and relaying them inside.
Most signal boosters support 4G and 5G frequencies 700 MHz, 850 MHz, 1.7/1.2 GHz, and 1.9 GHz.
If you compare the supported frequencies to T-Mobile's 5G frequencies, you’ll notice that they don’t match. This is because T-Mobile's 5G network is built on dedicated spectrum that doesn’t share bandwidth with 4G. Thus, most signal boosters do not currently work with T-Mobile's 5G networks. You can read more about it here.
The only amplifier that works with T-Mobile is the WilsonPro 710i. It’s exclusively designed to boost T-Mobile's Band 71 (600 MHz). It’s going to take a few years for a true 5G signal booster to hit the market.
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All signal boosters, however, continue to work with T-Mobile's 4G network. If you’re constantly experiencing dropped calls and slow data, enhancing 4G signals inside your home, office, or vehicle will help.
One of the 710i’s biggest selling points is pairing with T-Mobile Home Internet.
Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of signal boosters. You can enjoy reliable talk, text, and data anywhere you need – at home, in the office, or on the go. If you have any questions, call (1-800-568-2723), email (email@example.com), or chat with us. We’re happy to help!
What is the Difference Between 5G and 4G?
In a nutshell, 5G offers faster speeds, more capacity, better reliability, and less latency than 4G. For more information, visit 4G vs 5G vs LTE.
How Do I Know if T-Mobile 5G is Available in my Area?
There are two ways to tell if you're in a 5G area:
- If you have a 5G device, a 5G or 5G UC icon will appear on your phone’s status bar if T-Mobile's 5G is available.
- Look up your address on T-Mobile's 5G Coverage Map.
How Fast is T-Mobile 5G?
Speed will vary depending on which T-Mobile 5G spectrum you’re connected to:
- T-Mobile's Low-Band 5G: 30 to 75 Mbps
- T-Mobile's Mid-Band 5G: 115 to 223 Mbps
- T-Mobile's High-Band 5G: 450+ Mbps
What is Extended Range 5G?
T-Mobile calls its Low-Band 5G network Extended Range 5G. These signals can travel long distances and penetrate obstacles well. Speed is only slightly faster than 4G.
What is Ultra Capacity 5G?
T-Mobile calls its Mid- and High-Band 5G networks Ultra Capacity 5G. These signals offer faster speeds and more capacity than Extended Range 5G. Though, they have a shorter coverage range.
What Does the 5G UC Icon Mean?
The 5G UC icon on your phone’s status bar means you’re connected to T-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G network.
What’s the Difference Between T-Mobiles 5G and 5G UC Icons?
The 5G and 5G UC icons represent which 5G network you’re connected to. The standard 5G icon shows you’re connected to Extended Range 5G, while 5G UC shows you’re connected to Ultra Capacity 5G.
Does T-Mobile Charge Extra for 5G?
No. All T-Mobile plans include Extended Range 5G and Ultra Capacity 5G access at no extra cost.
How Does T-Mobiles 5G Home Internet Work?
Internet is provided through a 5G Gateway (router and modem combo unit). The Gateway picks up 5G or 4G signals and converts them into WiFi.
Interested in Learning More? Check Out Our Signal Boosting Info Center
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