Dash is launching its 5G community in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas Metropolis at the moment, turning into the third main US operator to kick off the following period of cell knowledge. “That is in all probability going to be the most important preliminary 5G launch by way of protection and footprint,” Dash CTO John Noticed informed reporters gathered in Dallas this morning. On this explicit metropolis, Dash’s 5G launch footprint covers 575 sq. miles and roughly 1.6 million individuals. “That is just the start,” Noticed stated. Dash is providing up a protection map of the place clients can count on 5G sign at launch, one thing that its opponents haven’t but accomplished.
However for Dash, 5G is about much more than protection: it’s about dependability. Rivals Verizon and AT&T have concentrated their launch 5G efforts on millimeter-wave expertise, which delivers actually next-level knowledge speeds that may exceed 1Gbps — however with the trade-off of extraordinarily spotty protection.
In Verizon’s case, protection is robust whenever you’re in shut proximity to certainly one of its 5G nodes, however shortly drops off as you progress away and disappears totally as soon as the node is out of sight. Indoor protection can be primarily nonexistent, with Verizon falling again to LTE speeds since home windows and partitions are sufficient to defeat millimeter wave. Dash executives at the moment described Verizon’s present setup as a “hotspot 5G community,” which is a reasonably brutal burn.
In contrast, Dash is utilizing what it calls “cut up mode” to permit units to mix 5G NR and LTE Superior for quicker obtain speeds and, extra importantly, 5G protection that’s considerably constant. Dash isn’t counting on the identical high-frequency millimeter-wave tech as Verizon and AT&T in the intervening time. As a substitute, it’s constructing 5G on prime of its mid-band 2.5GHz wi-fi spectrum. Based on Noticed, Dash’s antennas in 5G markets are divided with devoted LTE and 5G assets. “We aren’t sharing spectrum. We’re not stealing bandwidth from LTE customers, and also you don’t see a slowdown in 5G simply because LTE clients are utilizing loads of knowledge.” Noticed insists that is one thing that isn’t potential with millimeter wave alone. “I feel we’re the one operator within the US that’s in a position to launch our 5G community to have the very same protection as LTE, proper on prime of one another.”
However how briskly is it? Dash’s promise is as much as 5 instances quicker than LTE. “We’re making an attempt to set the suitable expectations,” stated Noticed. “You must see greater than 100Mbps whenever you’re driving round.” Dash drove media round for a brief two-mile bus journey to exhibit cell speeds. The brand new LG V50 certainly remained above that 100Mbps mark all through the check, and it by no means dropped Dash’s 5G community throughout the drive. Peak speeds hit between 500Mbps and 600Mbps after we stopped and had been stationary. However Dash is certainly being conservative in its steering and reiterating that that is day one and enhancements will come early and infrequently.
Nonetheless, some individuals are inevitably going to be underwhelmed by these peak speeds. “That’s barely higher than what I get now,” is a straightforward criticism, however you’ve additionally obtained to consider real-world speeds versus marketed or theoretical efficiency. Dash says its LTE clients sometimes get round 30Mbps.
Dash claims it can cowl roughly 11.5 million individuals as soon as it completes the rollout of its preliminary 5G launch in these cities:
- Atlanta (obtainable now) 150 sq. miles, approx. 565,000 individuals
- Chicago (coming quickly)
- Dallas-Fort Price (obtainable now) 575 sq. miles, approx. 1.6 million individuals
- Houston (obtainable now) 165 sq. miles, approx. 800,000 individuals
- Kansas Metropolis (obtainable now) 225 sq. miles, approx. 625,000 individuals
- Los Angeles (coming quickly)
- New York Metropolis (coming quickly)
- Phoenix (coming quickly)
The provider’s first two 5G-compatible units are the LG V50 and the HTC 5G Hub, each of which go on sale Could 31st. The V50 has a 6.Four-inch OLED display screen and comparable specs to the G8, however the factor you actually need to know is that it additionally has a 5G emblem on the again that lights up yellow, which appears appropriately excessive for a first-wave 5G cellphone. The 5G Hub is an odd little machine that primarily serves as a Wi-Fi and Ethernet hotspot. It helps as much as 20 simultaneous machine connections. However the Hub additionally runs Android 9 Pie on its 5-inch 720p show, has Google Assistant inbuilt, and in line with Dash, gives a wealth of prospects for streaming 4K content material and video games to your TV display screen. Dash says the Galaxy S10 5G will comply with these units someday this summer time as soon as its Verizon exclusivity wraps up.
When Noticed was talking to journalists, he likened the perfect 5G community construction to a marriage cake. Excessive-frequency millimeter wave will ship the mind-blowing peak speeds I noticed with Verizon in Chicago. Mid-band 2.5GHz spectrum will make 5G protection extra dependable and regular. And low-band “sub-6” spectrum can be essential for ensuring 5G can strongly attain indoor areas and difficult protection spots. As you’d count on, he introduced up the T-Cell merger as being important, since that firm possesses loads of low-band spectrum that may complement Dash’s personal.
“The US has a chance to win the race to 5G, and permitting the Dash and T-Cell merger would permit America to prepared the ground,” Dash CEO Michel Combes stated on Thursday. “Solely the New T-Cell would have the community and spectrum capability wanted to ship the suitable 5G expertise for purchasers.”
I’m in Dallas and can be giving Dash’s first two 5G merchandise an intensive check run over the following couple days. So when you’ve obtained any questions, hearth away within the feedback.