Allison Johnson

The race to 5G is over— now it’s time to pay the bill

The Consumer Electronics Show 2024 is just around the corner, and while telecommunications executives were eager to shout about 5G to the rafters just a few years ago, you’ll probably be lucky to hear so much as a whisper about it this time around. While it’s true that 5G has actually arrived, the fantastic use cases we heard about years ago haven’t materialized. But deploying 5G at the breakneck speeds required to win an imaginary race resulted in one fewer major wireless carrier to choose from and lots of debt to repay.

T-Mobile has started offering fiber home internet in a limited pilot program

T-Mobile has quietly started selling fiber-based home internet. T-Mobile says it’s testing fiber optic internet in certain residential buildings in Manhattan as a complement to its fixed wireless offering, which it made available to the public in April. The company isn’t deploying an entirely new fiber network for the pilot; it’s running on a local provider’s fiber lines. T-Mobile claims the service offers 940Mbps upload and download speeds.

Dish to launch wireless 5G service in beta at end of September 2021

Dish Network said that its Las Vegas 5G wireless service is in the final phase of construction and will launch in beta by the end of September 2021. The beta launch is an important first step toward its commitment to covering 70 percent of the US population by June 2023, a target that’s looking more ambitious by the day as the company continues to lose wireless customers.

T-Mobile confirms it will shut down Sprint’s LTE network in 2022

T-Mobile has committed to a June 30, 2022 shutdown date for Sprint’s LTE network. It’s an expected move as T-Mobile continues to absorb Sprint’s network and customers into its own base, and comes six months after its contentious planned January 1, 2022 shutdown of Sprint’s 3G CDMA network.

T-Mobile wants to lure back Boost customers it sold to Dish

T-Mobile is introducing a new prepaid promotion with incentives for customers on other prepaid MVNOs to switch to Metro by T-Mobile, including waiving switching fees, a discount on an unlimited plan with 5G, and a trade-in offer for a new 5G phone. In other words, it’s doing exactly what it told regulators it wouldn’t do when it acquired Sprint a year ago.

Predictably, T-Mobile’s merger promises weren’t enough to make a carrier out of Dish

When T-Mobile acquired Sprint in April of 2020, it brought our major wireless carrier choices from four down to three. Recognizing that this would indeed be a bad thing for US wireless customers (aka all of us), T-Mobile agreed to a set of conditions with the FCC’s blessing that would theoretically position Dish Network to fill the Sprint-shaped hole in our wireless landscape. In other words, one wireless competitor was allowed to reduce competition only if it agreed to help set up another competitor in its place. Sounds a little suspect, right?

AT&T adds benefits and eliminates deprioritization for its top-tier plan

AT&T is adding a few more benefits to its $85-per-month top-tier unlimited plan at no added cost. Unlimited Elite subscribers will now truly have access to unlimited high-speed data and will no longer be subject to deprioritization after hitting 100GB of data per month. Customers will also get a bump from 30GB of monthly hotspot data up to 40GB as well as up to 4K video streaming—boosted from a maximum of 1080p.

Verizon and T-Mobile Want Your Business More Than Ever Right Now

T-Mobile and Verizon are both offering to take your old, damaged phone off your hands and replace it with a shiny new 5G model. There are a couple of reasons for this generosity. Verizon, in particular, has written some big checks to pay for new C-band frequencies — highly desirable spectrum for 5G that offers good range and speed. The company has reassured its shareholders that the hefty expenditure will help grow its customer base and increase the amount of money it makes on existing accounts. Meanwhile, T-Mobile wants to make the most of a relatively strong hand right now.

T-Mobile launches long-promised 5G home internet service

After a long pilot period, T-Mobile is making its 5G home internet service a reality. The company says 30 million homes are now eligible for the service — 10 million of which are in rural areas. The service costs $60 per month, or $65 without autopay, which is $10 more per month than when the pilot program was introduced. The service comes with no data caps, hardware rental fees, or annual contracts, and customers self-install their own equipment. T-Mobile says most customers will experience speeds of 100Mbps, and all eligible customers should see average speeds of 50Mbps.

5G in the US is Disappointing Right Now, But It's Going to Get Better

We’ve been promised a fourth industrial revolution with fantastical things like remote surgery and driverless cars. Instead, what we have now is widespread 5G that’s more or less the same speed as (or even slower than) 4G and super-fast mmWave 5G in some parts of some major cities with highly limited range. So where is this 5G future we’ve been promised? The truth is that it’s coming along, but it will materialize more slowly and in less obvious ways than what we’ve been led to believe.