We’ve already seen the coronavirus outbreak have a major effect on the mobile industry, causing the cancellation of big events like MWC and Google I/O. However, one thing COVID-19 isn’t changing is the rollout of 5G networks.
Verizon and T-Mobile have both said that they continue to deploy 5G coverage despite the coronavirus pandemic. Verizon has confirmed to PCMag that it’s continuing work on expanding the coverage in the 5G cities that it launched last year, like in Chicago where 5G was previously only available on a few cell sites but now reaches the entire Loop and West Loop areas plus major avenues in many other parts of the city.
What’s more, Verizon says that it’s still on track to reach 60 5G cities by the end of 2020. The carrier plans to flip its 5G switch in more 5G cities next quarter, but says that it’s currently not doing any marketing launches because of the situation with the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile has said that it’s still maintaining and building out its network capacity even with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our network build is continuing and on track — thanks to our heroic teams that are working so hard to keep pushing forward,” T-Mobile told FierceWireless. “We continue to conduct necessary network activity to both maintain our network and expand network capacity — be that LTE or 5G.”
T-Mobile added that it’s working to “immediately” start rolling out more mid-band spectrum across the US following the closing of its merger with Sprint.
T-Mo activated its nationwide 600MHz 5G network in December 2019 that it said covered 200 million people at launch. The carrier has been expanding that 5G coverage to reach even more people in the months since then, and now that it’s successfully merged with Sprint, it will take the mid-band spectrum that it acquired from Sprint and use it to augment its 5G coverage.
Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s president of technology, said on April 1st that T-Mo had already started rolling out mid-band 5G spectrum in Philadelphia, but the carrier hasn’t made any other official announcements related to mid-band 5G spectrum rollouts since.
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