Sprint is still sweating out regulatory approval for its would-be merger with T-Mobile.
On its own as the nation’s No. 4 wireless carrier, Sprint on Thursday turned on mobile 5G in parts of Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and its own Kansas City backyard, with areas of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., expected to follow in the coming weeks.
Sprint claims the rollout of the speedy next-generation wireless network gives it the largest initial footprint of 5G in the U.S. Earlier this month, Sprint signaled that it would be flipping the switch on 5G very soon, when it started taking preorders on the LG V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone, the first handset to take advantage of the new network.
The HTC 5G Hub for home broadband, a U.S exclusive for Sprint, will also be compatible in the company’s 5G markets.
Meanwhile, Sprint says Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G phone will be available for Sprint come summer.
The Galaxy phone is already on sale at Verizon, which has launched limited 5G network service in Chicago and Minneapolis, with 20 additional U.S. cities to come in 2019: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.
Sprint previously announced that, for a limited time, the LG phone will cost $24 per month with $0 down under the Sprint Flex lease plan, half the regular price.
HTC’s 5G Hub will cost $12.50 per month. It can be activated with 100GB of high-speed data for $60 per month.
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And under Sprint’s Unlimited Premium plan for the phone, you’ll get unlimited data, talk and text nationwide, plus Hulu, Amazon Prime, Twitch Prime, Tidal HiFi and 100GB of LTE mobile hotspot. The cost is $80 per month for a single line, or $20 more than you pay for Sprint’s basic plan.
Sprint also said it is collaborating with Hatch and offering a free three-month subscription to the Hatch Premium cloud gaming service.
T-Mobile merger approval up in the air
The future outlook for Sprint without approval for the T-Mobile union appears to be shaky, and even in promoting the launch of its own mobile 5G, Sprint said in a release that the merger would accelerate the deployment of 5G including in rural areas.
“The combined company will have the resources and technology to build a 5G network that fuels innovation across every industry, dramatically increasing competition, unleashing new economic growth, and creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in U.S. economic value,” the company said.
Opponents of the deal think otherwise, and though the Federal Communications Commission recently gave its blessing, merger approval from the Dept. of Justice is still very much up in the air.
Citing an unnamed source said to be familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that the DOJ wants T-Mobile and Sprint to spin off a fourth national wireless competitor, a high bar that could squash the deal.
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