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T-Mobile says it will launch a nationwide 5G network in three years

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John Legere 2017 stock Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

T-Mobile announced today its plans for launching a true nationwide LTE beginning in 2019, with a complete rollout by 2020.

While the news is light on details when it comes to what technologies the carrier will be employing for its 5G network (especially given that there is still no formal 5G standard, despite carriers’ eagerness to announce 5G news), T-Mobile does make a point that it will be using its recently acquired (to the tune of $8 billion) 600 MHz spectrum for its 5G network.

T-Mobile notes that this is in contrast to other competitors, which it claims are focusing on short-range, high-frequency millimeter wave technologies for their 5G networks, in contrast to the longer-range and lower-frequency 600 MHz spectrum. That said, T-Mobile hasn’t necessarily ruled out use of millimeter wave bands for its 5G efforts either. This is especially true due to the physical limitations of low-band spectrum. Even T-Mobile’s fresh 600 MHz swath running with 5G technologies still likely won’t be as fast as 5G up in the higher bandwidth millimeter wave range.

While T-Mobile hasn’t described what 5G will look like on its network, for now it seems like the company is at least determined to offer a true 5G network and has a legitimate time frame for doing so, instead of simply sticking a 5G label on existing LTE technology.