The time for 5G MVNO network access is upon us. From what I understand, all T-Mobile based providers already have access to T-Mobile's 5G network, but not all advertise it. AT&T MVNOs seem to be mostly quiet about it and Verizon MVNOs just started announcing access to Verizon's 5G network.
The first Verizon MVNO to do so was Spectrum Mobile which unveiled a 5G network plan last month. Now US Mobile appears to be next in line to gain access. The prepaid provider has announced that its 5G network plans will become available in July 2020 on it's Super LTE network. For contractual reasons with its underlying partner network, US Mobile cannot explicitly state what network its Super LTE plans operate on. However, US Mobile says its Super LTE network has the "most reliable 4G LTE coverage," indicating it operates on Verizon. One of Verizon's taglines has long been that Verizon is "the nation's largest, most reliable 4G LTE network."
US Mobile's 5G Network And 5G Plan Explained
Right now, US Mobile has a landing page setup explaining all the details about its upcoming 5G network and plan launch. The MVNO is telling subscribers to "Buckle up. We're going Warp Speed."
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US Mobile's 5G webpage claims that its 5G plans will be 100x faster than 4G, although a graphic on the page seems to be in error showing 4G data speeds of 220Mbps and 5G at up to 2Gbps. That's a speed difference of 10x which may be more in line with reality. Providers typically like to paint the rosiest pictures possible of their technology. While 100x faster data speeds may be possible to achieve one day, early indications thus far are that 5G networks are about 3x faster than the fastest available 4G LTE networks.
US Mobile's network plans are scheduled to launch in July, although customers can join an early access waiting list for the opportunity to get 3 months of unlimited service for $100 or an average cost of $33.33/month. There are currently over 60,000 people signed up for early access as I found I when I filled out their early access form.
Regular pricing for US Mobile's new unlimited 5G plan is going to start at $65/month for a single line which is a bit more expensive than their current unlimited plans which start at $40/month. However, there will be some significant and interesting differences between the plans.
US Mobile's current base unlimited plan is speed capped at 5Mbps and there is a soft high-speed data cap of 50GB. For an extra $10/month customers can upgrade their plan to remove the 5Mbps data speed cap limit.
The new 5G network plan will not have a data speed cap limit. US Mobile has not specified if there will be a high-speed data limit on the plan like the 50GB limit on their current offering but they are advertising the new plan to have a very interesting feature. US Mobile's 5G plan subscribers will have the highest priority coverage possible, the same as Verizon postpaid customers. Normally, compared to their postpaid subscribing counterparts, MVNO's may have their data speeds slowed or slowed when the network gets busy. So this is a big feature change.
Another change coming to US Mobile will be the addition of multi-line discount pricing. Currently US Mobile offers perks such as a free Netflix subscription to customers that have multiple lines but no multi-line price discounts. Under the new structure, customers will pay $55/month each line for 2 lines and $50 for each additional line added to an account. US Mobile's multi-line perks will remain in place.
The new plans will also include 15GB of 4G LTE international data roaming. Current plans only come with up to 10GB of 4G LTE international roaming data. No word if hotspot usage will be allowed.
Right now, 5G access in the USA is more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. There is still a lack of 5G phones on the market, and the networks themselves have not been fully built out yet. True full-speed 5G network access is only available in select locations. Consequently, customers that do subscribe to US Mobile's new plan will fall back to 4G LTE network coverage when they're in an area without 5G.
If you are interested in getting early access to US Mobile's new 5G network plan you can do so by heading on over to their website.