Sprint plans to have its 5G network up and running by May 2019
Let’s get this show on the road, I’m ready for 5G.
If you’re a Sprint subscriber in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas or Kansas City – you’re in luck because you’ll be one of the first in the country to be able to use 5G. Starting in May, those four cities will get some form of 5G, although it will be the slower lower-band form of 5G as the carrier doesn’t have the license needed for the super-fast millimeter waves.
Sprint is also supposed to be rolling out 5G to residents in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington, DC before half of the year is up. The LG V50 ThinQ 5G will be Sprint’s first 5G phone, followed by the Samsung S10 5G when it’s able to. It will also offer a hotspot from HTC later this spring.
Sprint will also be extending its 5G network to Google Fi, through the equipment-sharing relationship they already have. That’s welcome news to Google Fi subscribers, but again, without a handset that can use the new spectrum, it’s just marketing speak right now. Google hasn’t made any noise about whether a 5G-enabled phone will be coming to Fi, maybe the Pixel 4 will have it but we’ll not know until after the summer.
Then again, with Fi opening up to any unlocked handset there’s nothing stopping anyone buying a Galaxy S10 5G unlocked and bringing it across. At least, not until after the launch exclusivity deal with Verizon expires.
Sprint isn’t the only company working on 5G
With T-Mobile not planning its 5G rollout in earnest until the second half of the year, that gives Sprint a head-start. Verizon already has some 5G networks up, albeit in the form of home-spun, not-to-standards broadband internet.
There’s also a disconnect between what Verizon is claiming and what Samsung is saying, with the carrier saying the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be on sale in the “first half of the year” while Samsung is maintaining that we won’t see the phone until “early summer.”
With the relative lack of choice in handsets, coverage areas and carriers, it’s clear to me that 5G isn’t really ready for the prime time, at least not in the US. In South Korea, where the technology doesn’t have to cover such a huge landmass, the three major carriers are working together to ensure coverage for “Korea 5G Day” which will likely be sometime in March, coinciding with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G’s availability. That level of coverage is expected to take around 3 years for the U.S.
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