TMUS has unveiled its latest attempt at disrupting the US telecoms market with a launch dubbed ‘5G for all’.
As ever the main thrust of TMUS’s messaging is that its two competitors are rubbish and rip their customers off. Hence an offer that some AT&T and Verizon customers on limited-data plans can upgrade to TMUS’s unlimited 5G contract and get a ‘free 5G phone’ (Samsung Galaxy A32) if they trade in their old one.
While this is likely to cause a splash among US consumers who take it at face value, as ever the devil is in the detail. There was presumably nothing to prevent those people from switching previously and it’s not immediately obvious what has changed. The entry-level unlimited plan seems to have many limitations and the phone deal is a fairly standard bundle. But those are just details – bring on the hyperbole.
“This is the moment we’ve been working toward since we shared our vision for a faster, more inclusive future — a vision we called 5G for All — when we announced our plans to merge with Sprint three years ago,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “We’re quite literally the only company that can kickstart this new era of connectivity, that has the network to upgrade America’s phones, homes and small towns to 5G. And we’re just getting started.”
Again, some vague but eye-catching claims there, which even Americans will presumably discount as standard TMUS bluster. In addition a domestic 5G fixed wireless broadband product was unveiled, called T-Mobile Home Internet (pictured) and the company made a commitment to bring more 5G coverage to rural parts of the country.
The latter announcements largely rest on TMUS’s unique 600 MHz frequency holdings, which give it an advantage over its competitors when it comes to coverage, but not capacity or speed. Once more this aggressive push into FWA begs many questions, but there will probably be considerable good will generated from connecting the unconnected.
“Since the beginning of the digital age, connectivity for rural America has been an afterthought,” said TMUS SVP Edwige Robinson. “One of our most important goals is to ensure that small town America is not left behind during the transition to 5G. This is why 5G for All will span across the country — small towns as well as big cities, rural communities as well as the suburbs.”
TMUS has spent a lot on merging with Sprint and preparing its network for announcements like this. At the core of its business strategy will be a drive to take postpaid customers from AT&T and Verizon and it seems to think they’re weak on 5G. But even if they are, it remains unclear how much of a draw 5G is to consumers while it remains a moderate speed boost with very limited coverage.
Here’s the launch event, you lucky things.