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MWC: T-Mobile IDs 1st Four 5G Markets

Aims for 30 cities by year-end

T-Mobile is the latest mobile carrier to reveal its 5G plans.

Today at Mobile World Congress the company said it will build out 5G in 30 cities this year, and customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas will be first to experience it, when the first 5G smartphones launch early next year.

T-Mobile president John Legere remained in character after recent 5G announcements from rivals AT&T and Sprint. “Dumb and Dumber are in a meaningless race to be first. Their so-called 5G isn’t mobile, and it’s not even on a smartphone. It’s a puck?! You gotta be pucking kidding me! We’re playing the long game … the only game that matters.”

See: 5G Could Recharge The Smartphone Market

In addition to deploying 5G-ready equipment and bringing 5G in low-band spectrum (600MHz), T-Mobile said it plans to begin building out 5G on millimeter wave spectrum this year. The company expects to deploy 25,000 small cells to light up Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), technology that adds extra capacity and speed until 5G is fully deployed.

T-Mobile claims a unique position with 5G, with unpopulated spectrum holdings. “While other wireless companies must kick customers off their congested LTE networks to build out 5G, the Un-carrier is building 5G on wide-open airwaves,” the company said in a release.

T-Mobile also stressed it is the only U.S. wireless operator to announce plans for standards-based 5G across multiple spectrum bands.

“We’re tackling 5G with an army at our side,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s CTO. “To advance our 5G vision, we’re working closely with 3GPP, industry standards groups, chip makers, and a range of global handset manufacturers — who are on track to deliver the first handsets in early 2019. And we’re partnering closely with global network infrastructure leaders like Ericsson and Nokia who are already delivering equipment to support our multi-spectrum strategy.”