T-Mobile is postponing it’s official 5G service launch until the second half of 2019, according to chief technology officer Neville Ray in an interview with CNET. Originally, T-Mobile predicted its completed 5G service would be available in 30 cities by mid-2019, but plans have changed due to a delay in product development.
According to Ray, T-Mobile had expected handset manufacturers and chipset makers would be able to more quickly develop a smartphone that could access the lower-band 600 MHz spectrum. As of now, the few 5G phones available will only partially support T-Mobile’s 5G network, rendering the project unfinished.
The setback will push T-Mobile’s official rollout a few months behind launches from Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T, but the carrier still has plans to release 5G millimeter wave installations within the coming months. These installations will be extremely limited in availability since millimeter range is so short.
As for the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S10 5G device, T-Mobile will sell the phone but will most likely not promote it, due to the lack of full 5G network support.
After CNET’s interview was published, Ray tweeted that it was “wrong” to characterize this as a delay in 5G service, since T-Mobile will still be releasing mmWave 5G phones before the second half of the year.
“We've always said we'd launch when phones are available, and they will be in H1. H2 is just when it gets more meaningful... but there's no delay and no change of plans,” said Ray in a tweet.