T-Mobile chief technology officer Neville Ray said in an interview with MWC on Monday that the company will not officially launch its 5G service in its first 30 cities until the second half of 2019. The reason is: the lack of phones that can connect to the critical low frequency spectrum of 600 MHz, which will provide most of its early coverage of 5G.
"We were hoping we had a device a year ago," he said in Barcelona. . "He has not yet appeared".
Ray has pushed the industry to move faster with compatible devices, but noted that much of the industry is working on devices that support bandwidths with higher frequencies that offer better speeds but less bandwidth. The first 5G smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, will fit high-frequency ranges and will first come out with Verizon Wireless.
AT & T, Sprint and T-Mobile have networks that are compatible with the Galaxy S10 5G, and T-Mobile has said it will carry the phone in the first half. But coverage with a high-frequency spectrum of millimeter waves is so minimal that Ray said that the company is not sure how – or if – it will contribute to this.
Rey Concession puts wrinkles on the 5G race, as carriers push to the next generation's first wireless technology, which promises a much faster and more responsive network. AT & T has already launched 5G in dozens of markets, but in limited areas, while Verizon has a 5G home network. Sprint, meanwhile, said it.
The delay also highlights the complexity of building a 5G network and the rates that companies have to make, on which spectrum they can use. Verizon and AT & T originally supported a range of millimeter waves, since it can provide ultrahigh speeds, but with a limited range. T-Mobile has chosen the lower range of the spectrum, which has a slower peak, but better coverage.
Many early investments were invested in devices that use a spectrum of millimeter waves that does not affect the strengths of T-Mobile. As such, you expect a loud launch later this year, even if the Galaxy S10 5G can pick up small pieces of 5G here and there.
He said he was not worried about AT & T and Verizon pulling ahead in the 5G race through a limited range of millimeter waves.
"You can not go to the American consumer and charge them a big prize, and it works on three corners of the streets," Ray said.
Ray applauded the Sprint, at least, arguing that it would cover over 1,000 square kilometers in the first half. He is waiting to hear about AT & T and plans for the coverage of Verizon.
AT & T advertised its existing service and what is still expected.
"Today we offer a single 5G mobile network and device and we continue to expand the reach and device parameters," – said the representative of AT & T. "I'm surprised that they continue to ignore our announced plans to offer a 5G mobile network at the low-frequency spectrum this year with a nationwide coverage in early 2020."
Verizon was not available for comment.
Ray said that the company will go on to a large capacity with 5G in the second half as soon as it receives a device that can connect to its 600 MHz spectrum. He declined to comment on which company would supply the phone.
Originally posted at 6:12 am PT
Update 8:05 PT : Adds background and comments from AT & T.
Update, 9:05 am PT:
Update, 10:15 PT: Adds an extra quote from Neville Ray.