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Why T-Mobile Delayed Its 5G Launch Plan

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Only portions of T-Mobile’s 5G network to delay launch

Although T-Mobile (TMUS) is underway with 5G network buildout, the operator’s progress on this front is being slowed down by the lack of handsets capable of supporting the kind of 5G network it is developing. According to a report from CNET, T-Mobile may delay the launch of its fully loaded 5G network until the second half of 2019 when it expects compatible phones to be available. While T-Mobile may not launch its full-blast 5G network as fast as it may have originally planned, the company insists it hasn’t changed its 5G deployment plans and that it will not be left behind by the competition.

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Operators rattled by lack of 5G-ready phones on the market

A lack of 5G-ready phones is a concern for many operators, not just T-Mobile. In apparent efforts to overcome this problem, Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), and Sprint (S) have gone ahead to place orders for 5G phones straight with manufacturers. Verizon and AT&T last year placed orders for 5G phones with Samsung (SSNLF). Sprint contracted LG Electronics to make a smartphone that can run on its 5G network.

Strong consumer interest in 5G connectivity

There is stronger consumer interest in 5G connectivity compared to the previous wireless network generations. A study from Ericsson predicts that there will be 1.5 billion 5G subscribers worldwide by 2024. Ericsson is one of the vendors that T-Mobile is working with on its 5G rollout. T-Mobile last year signed Ericsson and Nokia for 5G contracts worth $7.0 billion combined.

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