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T-Cell will provide practically nationwide protection on its super-fast 5G community by the top of 2021, firm executives stated on Thursday, a transfer that might stress rivals Verizon and AT&T to maintain tempo.

On the finish of subsequent 12 months, the community will blanket an space the place 200 million individuals dwell, the corporate promised. Beforehand, it had stated that its community, which is presently obtainable to 30 million individuals, would develop to a possible market of 100 million individuals by the top of 2020.

The deliberate development in protection is partly a results of T-Cell buying Dash earlier this 12 months. It gave T-Cell extra airwaves that might present greater 5G speeds.

“We’re off to the races and got here out of the blocks tremendous fast,” Neville Ray, T-Cell’s president for know-how who’s overseeing the 5G rollout, tells Fortune. “We’re now including on high of that (extra of the spectrum) we secured within the mixture with Dash. That’s shifting actually, actually quick. Hundreds of websites on air at present, 1000’s in building, and 1000’s extra prepared to enter building.”

Verizon has deployed its 5G utilizing greater frequencies than T-Cell’s that don’t journey as far and only in parts of 55 cities. Analysts say Verizon’s community covers about 2 million individuals to this point. AT&T hasn’t stated a lot about its quick 5G plans these days, but it surely has protection in parts of 35 cities.

With the most recent iPhones and Samsung Galaxy telephones each now compatible with 5G, a rising variety of customers are actually in a position to get 5G service. Nonetheless, there aren’t many apps that benefit from 5G speeds but and most customers stream their music and video as a substitute of downloading it.

T-Cell’s 5G promise for 2021 got here as the corporate reported third-quarter earnings that shocked analysts. Income jumped 74% to $19.3 billion due to the Dash merger that closed in April. These gross sales had been practically $1 billion greater than analysts anticipated.

In the meantime, T-Cell’s earnings of $1.00 per share had been virtually double what Wall Road had forecast. T-Cell’s inventory jumped 6% to $124.75 in after-hours buying and selling on Thursday, an all-time excessive.

The service’s higher-end 5G community affords speeds averaging over 300 megabits per second, about six-to-eight occasions quicker than the typical 4G pace and quick sufficient to obtain a high-definition film in underneath one minute. T-Cell additionally affords a lot slower 5G service by way of low-band airwaves in many of the nation.

The problem for Verizon and AT&T is that they don’t personal many airwave licenses within the mid-band. Each have deployed 5G know-how in low-band airwaves like these used for 4G, however that gives minimal pace will increase. And each have deployed high-frequency 5G, however protection is minimal. The Federal Communications Fee is auctioning off extra mid-band spectrum beginning subsequent month however that might take years to deploy.

“In 5G, T-Cell received’t simply catch Verizon on community high quality; we count on they are going to move them by,” longtime trade analyst Craig Moffett at MoffettNathanson Analysis, wrote after the announcement. “Worst-to-first tales are uncommon. You don’t should consider that 5G is ‘the subsequent large factor’ to consider that T-Cell itself is, effectively, ‘the subsequent large factor.’”

Nonetheless, the advert trade’s self-regulatory board on Thursday chastised T-Mobile for overpromising its 5G service in latest TV commercials. T-Cell agreed to drop claims that it had the “finest” or “most dependable” 5G community for now.

One purpose that T-Cell can deploy mid-band 5G extra rapidly and extra cheaply than its rivals is that it may well unfold protection by including new radio gear on its present cell towers. Deploying high-frequency 5G usually requires constructing solely new small cell websites that blanket city areas.

“I’m not attempting to construct lots of of 1000’s of small cells,” Ray says. “That’s going to a long time to finish.”

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