T-Mobile has been selling mobile broadband for years like all the other carriers, but it’s decided to branch out into home internet. However, it’s not starting with pseudo-5G like Verizon. It’s kicking off T-Mobile home internet with good old-fashioned LTE. It’s coming to select markets soon, and the company promises a 5G version will launch later. Well, as long as it can get that pesky Sprint merger approved.
The announcement post, penned by bombastic CEO John Legere, starts by telling us what we already know. Most Americans are stuck with one or two choices for home broadband, and they usually hate both of them. Legere claims T-Mobile is the answer, but honestly, consumers hate their wireless carriers only slightly less than home ISPs. Legere says that T-Mobile is the least hated of carriers, pointing to various awards and metrics.
T-Mobile’s solution to the sad state of US broadband access is to become an ISP. T-Mobile isn’t going to light up most of its LTE network until later this year, but it’s not waiting. The company has filed documents with the FCC to begin offering an LTE-powered home broadband router. This 4G router will provide similar speeds to what you’re getting on your phone, but it connects to all the devices around your home.
Specifics like cost, data caps, and available markets are still unknown — the FCC document is heavily redacted. However, Legere says the router itself will be free for T-Mobile subscribers. The company is also using this initiative as a way to push for its impending Sprint acquisition. According to the blog post, T-Mobile plans to upgrade all it home routers to support 5G on the 2.5GHz band after the merger does through.
Sprint has a mountain of 2.5GHz spectrum, and T-Mobile wants to combine it with its 600MHz holdings to run 5G. Millimeter wave 5G has higher data capacity, but it doesn’t work indoors without installing external antennas. T-Mobile will use millimeter wave on phones alongside the lower bands, but it wants the home service to be easy to set up. Legere says there will be no setup charges, and you’ll be able to do it yourself with an app in a few minutes.
US regulators are still mulling the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, but most observers believe the deal has a good chance. Decisions from the FCC and Department of Justice are believed to be at least a month away.
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