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5G is here, and T-Mobile is on top of it. The fifth generation of wireless technology promises faster cellular data speeds, a lower chance of lag, and potentially revolutionary ways of approaching home internet.
T-Mobile has been busy building out its nationwide 5G network, giving cellphone users more possibilities to try out 5G for themselves. We’ve got all the details on how you can access the network, what speeds you’ll get, and the ever-growing list of 5G devices to help you tap into the 5G life.
Still not sure what 5G is all about? Take a look at our 5G providers page for a full explanation.
T-Mobile 5G rollout
T-Mobile has been expanding its nationwide 5G network ever since it launched in December 2019. The “uncarrier” has managed to get a leg up against its main cellular rivals, thanks to a recent corporate merger with Sprint and an emphasis on low-band, sub–6 GHz 5G (the slowest but most wide-reaching type of 5G). T-Mobile’s 5G network is currently available to thousands of markets in all 50 states.
T-Mobile’s average 5G speeds are only marginally faster than 4G LTE. But it has the largest 5G network of all the major cell providers, with over 20% of American customers able to use it. And it’s in the process of building out the network with more 2.5 GHz spectrum—a coveted “mid-band” range of frequencies widely adopted by 5G networks in Asia and Europe, which allows for both wide range and vastly boosted speeds.1
As part of a plan to build up a “layer cake” network, the company will also bring out millimeter-wave 5G, which is capable of delivering speeds 1,000 Mbps and faster (albeit only in isolated urban centers and indoor sites).
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Will T-Mobile have 5G home internet?
T-Mobile will have 5G home internet available for customers in the coming years—but it’s not clear when it will be up and running.
T-Mobile currently offers residential internet to customers over its LTE network, as part of a pilot program to test out a larger home internet option. Like other wireless carriers, T-Mobile’s LTE internet emphasizes simplicity as an alternative to wired internet providers. Its plan costs $50 per month (with Autopay), delivering around 25 Mbps download speeds.
There are no data caps, no extra fees for hardware, and no contractual obligations. However, you may experience slower speeds when there’s congestion on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network.
So when will we see this residential internet option on 5G? T-Mobile has pledged to have 5G home internet up and running enough to cover as much as 50% of US households—including in traditionally underserved rural areas—within the next six years.
Data as of 10/20/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
One major advantage of 5G residential internet is that you can get much faster speeds and lower lag. Use our How Much Internet Speed Do I Need? tool to gauge how much firepower you’ll need over wireless Wi-Fi.
T-Mobile 5G coverage map
T-Mobile’s 5G network is available in over 7,500 cities and towns in every state across America. It serves nearly 250 million people across 1.3 million square miles. By most accounts, T-Mobile has the most widely available 5G network currently operating in the United States.2
To see whether T-Mobile 5G is available in your area, type your location into T-Mobile’s online 5G coverage map.
How do you get T-Mobile 5G?
To get on T-Mobile’s 5G network, you need a 5G phone or mobile hotspot along with a T-Mobile cellular plan.
All of T-Mobile’s unlimited-data phone plans allow you to access the 5G network. On any T-Mobile unlimited plan, you get access to the company’s 4G LTE network by default. You can also get on 5G service when you’re in range of the new service.
|Plan||5G access?||Price||Video streaming quality||Mobile hotspot data||Data limit||View plans|
|Magenta Plus||Yes||$85/mo. per line||HD||20 GB of 4G LTE (+ unlimited 3G)||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Magenta||Yes||$70/mo. per line||SD||3 GB of 4G LTE (+ unlimited 3G)||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Essentials||Yes||$60/mo. per line||SD||Unlimited 3G||Unlimited (speeds slowed during network congestion)||View Plans|
Keep in mind that you may not be connected to 5G all the time, since T-Mobile is still expanding its service availability. According to a June 2020 report from mobile analytics firm Opensignal, T-Mobile’s wireless customers spent 22.5% of their phone time connected to the 5G network.2 The rest of the time they were on 4G LTE.
That may not sound like wide availability, but T-Mobile is making faster progress than its rivals. The same Opensignal report finds that AT&T’s wireless customers spent just 10.3% of their phone time on AT&T’s growing 5G network.2
Is 5G from T-Mobile available in your area? Take a look at T-Mobile’s 5G coverage map to find out.
T-Mobile 5G speeds
|Cell carrier||Top 5G speed||5G availability (% of time users connected to 5G during phone use)||View plans|
|T-Mobile||49.2 Mbps||22.5%||View T-Mobile Plans|
|Verizon||494.7 Mbps||0.4%||View Verizon Plans|
|AT&T||60.8 Mbps||10.3%||View AT&T Plans|
T-Mobile’s 5G network delivers average download speeds of 49.2 Mbps.2 That’s 36% faster than the average speed of its 4G LTE network—but significantly slower than top speeds of its rivals.
Needless to say, T-Mobile is not the fastest 5G network of the bunch. T-Mobile has focused in 2020 on building out low-band services, which are more widely available but deliver speeds that are just a bit faster than 4G LTE.
Still, 50 Mbps is way fast for cell data—and faster speeds are yet to come.
How fast is your phone data?
Not sure what kind of speeds you’re getting with your cellular plan? Take our speed test to see if you’d benefit from a 5G boost.
How fast will T-Mobile 5G be in the future?
T-Mobile’s 5G network has the potential to hit 1,000 Mbps or faster, so long as it achieves benchmarks in building out its mid-band and millimeter-wave 5G infrastructure.
The company launched its first standalone 5G network in August 2020, which bodes well for a boost in performance.3 Rather than rely on previously built 4G infrastructure, a standalone network incorporates brand-new systems architecture, allowing for greater network efficiency and precise signal targeting for your mobile device.
T-Mobile has also been rolling out more mid-band availability. Mid-band frequencies like 2.5 GHz have a greater capacity for carrying data, making them way faster than low-band 5G. Mid-band spectrum also doesn’t have the extremely limited range of millimeter wave technology. Mid-band spectrum can’t reach millimeter-wave speed, but it can still deliver really fast speeds at a distance of several miles.
T-Mobile 5G phones
|iPhone 12||$829.99||6.1" Super Retina XDR||View on Amazon|
|iPhone 12 Pro||$999.99||6.1" Super Retina XDR||View on Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G||$699.99||6.5" FHD+ Super AMOLED||View on Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 5G||$999.99||6.2" Infinity-O, Super AMOLED||View on Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G||$986.55||6.7" FHD+ Super AMOLED||View on Amazon|
|Motorola razr 5G||$1,199.99||6.2" Foldable pOLED||View on Amazon|
|OnePlus 8 5G||$899.99||6.55" Fluid AMOLED||View on Amazon|
5G phones are coming out hot on the market these days, and T-Mobile offers some of the most popular ones along with its phone plans.
You also may notice that the price of 5G devices has been trending downward. The first 5G phones cost upwards of $900, but naturally as the network technology develops and gains in popularity, more affordable models come out—including the relatively affordable new iPhone 12 mini.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are definitely the hottest new phones on the market. Along with pristine displays, high-performance cameras, and water-resistant screens, they are compatible with a wide range of 5G spectrums and frequencies.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is also very popular and consistent. Then there’s Motorola’s redesigned razr 5G, the latest iteration of the much-ballyhooed foldable phone trend.
If you haven’t quite figured out the finer differences between 5G and its older predecessor, 4G, read our 4G vs. 5G guide to get the details.
What does the T-Mobile and Sprint merger mean for Sprint customers?
Sprint customers will notice a handful of minor changes to their accounts due to Sprint’s recent merger with T-Mobile. But they will still have the same wireless plans, pay the same price, and their phones will still work on Sprint and T-Mobile networks.
You’ll now access your account online through T-Mobile’s website, and all of Sprint’s brick-and-mortar stores are now T-Mobile stores. You also may notice a decline in data speed if you have an older Sprint phone, since T-Mobile is requisitioning part of Sprint’s spectrum for 5G.3
Sprint customers will gradually be folded into the T-Mobile brand over a period of years. Your current phone plan won’t be affected until at least 2023, and your Sprint phone will still work. You’ll also be able to access T-Mobile’s network where Sprint’s isn’t available.
However, you may reach a point when you’ll need to upgrade to a new phone or plan—especially if you want to upgrade to T-Mobile’s 5G network. For more information, head to T-Mobile’s page about the Sprint merger.
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FAQ about T-Mobile 5G
Is 5G in my area?
5G is likely in your area if you live in a large metropolitan area served by one of the three major cellular carriers (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) in the United States. However, as we point out on our 5G providers page, 5G is still growing and there’s limited access at the moment. Even if you can get on 5G, it will be only in certain areas in your city or town. If it’s not available where your phone is at, you’ll revert back to 4G LTE networks.
Where is 5G available?
5G is available mostly in select parts of large cities and towns across the country. But 5G networks are expanding every day, including into some rural areas and smaller markets. Within the next few years, it will likely be readily available nationwide. It may even be an option for home internet on par with cable and fiber internet.
How do I get 5G from T-Mobile?
To get 5G from T-Mobile, you’ll need a T-Mobile wireless plan and a 5G phone or hotspot that’s compatible with T-Mobile’s 5G network. You don’t have to pay extra or sign up for a special plan to access 5G over T-Mobile—when you have a 5G device, it will connect automatically to T-Mobile’s 5G network when it’s available. Otherwise you’ll be riding on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE.