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Sprint adds 3 cities to 2019 5G rollout

Sprint announced that New York City, Kansas City and Phoenix would be added to the list of the provider's initial 5G market when the service goes online in early 2019.

Sprint's 5G service will use mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum to deliver mobile speeds up to 10 times faster than the current network, according to the company.

The cities join the initially announced markets of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Houston, TX and Washington, DC.

As carriers race to replace LTE service with 5G in markets around the world, Sprint says it has a leg up: its planned merger with T-Mobile. The "New T-Mobile," as the merged company is branding itself, promises to leverage both firms’ technologies to build out a larger market that reaches consumers faster. They even created a website — All For 5G — to trumpet the potential of combining the two networks.

Following news of the merger, The Verge noted the companies’ rhetoric was "focusing less on what their combinations of 5G technologies can bring to the table from an innovation perspective, and more on the implied doom that could befall the greatness of American innovation if they aren’t allowed to merge." T-Mobile CEO John Legere told CNBC last month that "We are behind China," but his new company would push American firms ahead.

It’s unclear if Sprint’s announcement of new markets is related to the merger; press statements make no mention of T-Mobile, instead highlighting its "Most Innovative 5G Strategy" award given by Light Reading. Sprint had already promised a full 5G rollout by 2019 and was installing Massive MIMO antenna in its six pilot cities, while T-Mobile was aiming for 2020. The companies are still waiting for government approval for the merger to become final.

The announcement comes as companies are racing to be the first to get 5G on the market; AT&T last month announced its "5G Evolution" technology in 117 markets, and Verizon promises to launch in some cities by the end of the year.