5G for all: How T-Mobile’s relentless innovation led to the largest and fastest 5G network.

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When you’re in the business of connecting people, you have to understand where people and businesses are heading next.

By now you’ve probably heard how 5G will change business in monumental ways. How it has the potential to enable unprecedented innovation. How it will connect people, places, and things in ways we can’t yet imagine. Sound familiar?

We at T-Mobile have seen this change coming for years, so much so that it informed nearly every step of our 5G network buildout. Because when you’re in the business of connecting people, their innovation depends on you making the right moves.

It started with embracing a 5G vision big enough for all Americans.

Early on we recognized that enabling a 5G future depended on having access to usable radio spectrum across all three bands—low-, mid-, and high-band (or mmWave). So, we got to work. While other carriers focused solely on building out high-band 5G that only covered a few dense city blocks in a limited number of cities, we focused on building a 5G network to connect all Americans.

Today, we’re upgrading more towers every month to Ultra Capacity 5G, which now covers more than 165 million people with speeds as fast as Wi-Fi. And we cover nearly 305 million people with Extended Range 5G across 9,100 cities and towns in all 50 states. In fact, T-Mobile is now America’s largest and fastest 5G network.i

How did we do it? A relentless focus on innovation.

While other carriers focused solely on building out high-band 5G that only covered a few dense city blocks in a limited number of cities, we focused on building a 5G network to connect all Americans.

Prioritizing the right balance of 5G coverage and speed.

Our 5G network buildout began in 2017, starting with the acquisition of 31 MHz or 45% of all low-band spectrum sold in the FCC’s spectrum auction, laying the foundation for a 5G network with extensive coverage. But our biggest step in building a nationwide 5G network came in 2018.


5G Advantage Timeline


T-Mobile aquired low-band spectrum through auction

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T-Mobile announced merger with Sprint, which had a large mid-band spectrum supply

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T-Mobile aquired high-band mmWave spectrum through auction

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Merger of Sprint and T-Mobile was completed, giving the company a unique full-spectrum 5G advantage

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We knew that mid-band spectrum—which reaches orders of magnitude farther than mmWave and covers vast urban and suburban areas—was key. And it was in very limited supply. In fact, incremental mid-band wasn’t even available for auction until 2020. At the same time, other carriers weren’t focused on mid-band—they were doubling down on a mmWave 5G-centric vision based on speeds alone.

T-Mobile saw an opportunity to acquire mid-band before auction—and accelerate our robust 5G network buildout—by merging with Sprint. With that acquisition complete, we captured a sizable supply of mid-band spectrum that Sprint had licensed years before.

We now have all three bands of dedicated spectrum—plus C-band to complement our 2.5 GHz mid-band holdings—to keep building out America’s largest and fastest 5G network. The other major carriers spent tens of billions at the FCC’s recent C-band auction, and will spend even more clearing the spectrum and deploying the technology, yet T-Mobile still retains our mid-band spectrum advantage.

We’re building the highest capacity network in U.S. history. We are also working to have 5G available to 97% of Americans within three years, and to 99% of Americans within 6 years, so more Americans—and American businesses—can have the best 5G coverage, speed, and reliability.

More than just network strength, we’re prioritizing the right partnerships.

5G will help nearly every industry evolve, from energy and agriculture to entertainment and healthcare. To make 5G tangible, both public and private sectors need to foster the right programs and partnerships.

For instance, we recently rolled out our Ultra Capacity 5G at the Miami U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Hospital. With Ultra Capacity 5G speeds, medical teams will be able to improve critical telehealth services and quickly access large files without having to be tethered to a computer. In the future, T-Mobile 5G will enable innovations that could take healthcare to the next level in ways we can’t yet predict.

Pilots that might have sounded like science fiction just a few years ago are now being tested through our programs.

We’re also committed to exploring the bleeding edge of what’s possible with 5G through a number of initiatives, including the 5G Open Innovations Lab, a global innovation ecosystem of developers, corporate enterprises, academia, and government institutions dedicated to fueling innovation of 5G applications. We also operate the T-Mobile Ventures investment fund and the T-Mobile Accelerator, a hub that drives ideas, innovation, and action.

On an even larger scale, in March 2021, we partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology to unveil a 5G incubator program at the Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, a 5G-enabled living laboratory for smart city and Internet of Things testing. Pilots for innovative startups that might have sounded like science fiction just a few years ago are now being tested and iterated upon through our programs.

We make innovation a team sport so you can change the game.

To innovators of every type in every business, we get you. In fact, everything we do is rooted in understanding and empowering you to succeed, no matter where you are or what industry your business operates in.

Whether you’re developing new technology, pivoting your business model, implementing IoT devices across the country, or fostering strategic partnerships, T-Mobile for Business will be innovating right there with you.

See why unconventional thinking like this is better for business at t-mobile.com/unconventional.

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