T-Mobile to roll out U.S. 5G coverage for 200M people starting in December

T-Mobile CEO John Legere. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

T-Mobile will launch “nationwide” 5G coverage starting Dec. 6, firing the latest salvo in the battle over the next-generation wireless technology.

T-Mobile leaders John Legere and Mike Sievert said Thursday that T-Mobile’s 5G coverage will cover 200 million people across 5,000 cities when it launches. T-Mobile’s 5G network will start with two primary devices: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.

The company billed the announcement as the kickoff of “Un-Carrier 1.0” under the “New T-Mobile,” a reference to the merger with Sprint. The deal got regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission last month but still faces some legal hurdles before it can be finalized.

Here is a look at the initiatives T-Mobile announced today:

  • T-Mobile committed to providing free 5G access, with unlimited data, texting and calling, to all public and non-profit state and local police, fire and EMS agencies across the nation.
  • Project 10Million aims to eliminate the so-called “homework gap” for children across the U.S. T-Mobile plans to offer free service, hotspots and savings on devices to 10 million households with children, distributed to states based on population.
  • T-Mobile pledged to cut the price of its cheapest plan in half, to $15 a month. It includes unlimited talk and text with 2GB of data. The program, called T-Mobile Connect, while add 500MB of data to the plan each year.

Today’s announcements, under the tagline “5G for Good,” are designed to show off, primarily to the state attorneys general opposing the merger, what the combined companies can do. Sievert said these moves wouldn’t be possible without the Sprint merger and won’t go into effect until the deal is approved.

T-Mobile has sought to shake up the wireless industry with its Un-carrier Moves in the past. Prior moves include bundling its service with a Netflix subscription, upending its customer service policies and reviving unlimited data contracts.

Last week, T-Mobile disclosed it added 1.7 million customers in the third quarter, its 26th straight quarter with more than 1 million net additions. That brings the total to 84.2 million customers in its quest to catch its larger rivals ATT and Verizon.

Executives said the company now expects that its merger with Sprint “will be permitted to close in early 2020.” T-Mobile and Sprint still face a multi-state lawsuit brought by attorneys general seeking to block the merger.

The event is streaming live on YouTube now:

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