The New T-Mobile Is Here
2020 has seen the biggest change to T-Mobile…ever. The company’s long-awaited merger with Sprint created the “New T-Mobile,” a giant powerhouse that combines the carriers’ two networks into something faster and stronger.
You’ll see improvements to T-Mobile’s network all though the next year. To take advantage of them, though, you need a relatively recent phone with all of T-Mobile’s frequency bands and that’s where this list comes in. If you’re shopping on your own, make sure that your phone supports LTE frequency bands 12 and 71, and 5G band n41, for the best T-Mobile coverage.
For more on the merger, see What The Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Means to T-Mobile Customers.
5G frequencies—low, middle, and high—but mid-band is where the sweet spot is. T-Mobile’s low-band 5G network has great coverage but not much effect on performance; its high-band network hasn’t expanded beyond its seven initial cities. On the other hand, the carrier says it hopes to reach 100 million people with its mid-band 5G network by the end of 2020, offering up speeds that can be 300–500Mbps.
I recommended all-band phones back at the beginning of 2020, but I think focusing on mid-band right now is key. The good news is, all 5G phones currently sold by T-Mobile have mid-band, so you can just choose a phone you like and not worry too much.
To that end, we are only featuring 5G-capable phones in this T-Mobile roundup now. There are enough of them, and it’s worth investing at this point.
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Unlike AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile is unlikely to go big in the upcoming auction for “C-Band” airwaves, which means that current phones will do pretty well on T-Mobile’s network going forward. The carrier’s task is more about figuring out how to expand and merge its networks rather than innovating new technologies that are going to require new phones.
For more, see our list of the best 5G phones.
Flip Phones on T-Mobile
There’s also now a good flip phone for T-Mobile, the Alcatel Go Flip 3. We didn’t like the previous Go Flip, but this one functions much more smoothly and has some useful smartphone-like features such as WhatsApp support.
If you need more help buying a phone, check out our story on the best cheap phones. While you’re at it, take a look at our lists for the best phones on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless, and see our Readers’ Choice awards for 2020’s top mobile carriers.
About Sascha Segan
PCMag.com’s lead mobile analyst, Sascha Segan, has reviewed hundreds of smartphones, tablets and other gadgets in more than 9 years with PCMag. He’s the head of our Fastest Mobile Networks project, one of the hosts of the daily PCMag Live Web show and speaks frequently in mass media on cell-phone-related issues. His commentary has appeared on ABC, the BBC, the CBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, and in newspapers from San Antonio, Texas to Edmonton, Alberta.
Segan is also a multiple award-winning travel writer, having contributed to the Frommer’s series of travel guides and Web sites for more than a decade. Other than his home town of New York, his favorite …