Having previously set general targets for its initial launch of 5G services and devices in the United States, Sprint says today that it will begin offering 5G in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City on May 31, with its first 5G device preorders starting tomorrow, May 17. Early adopters will be able to purchase LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G as a smartphone, or HTC’s 5G Hub to provide 5G network connectivity to multiple Wi-Fi devices.
The V50 ThinQ 5G recently launched in South Korea, where it reportedly sold 100,000 units in its launch weekend as a less expensive alternative to Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G. Sprint’s asking price for the 6.4-inch screened phone is $1,152, slightly higher than its $1,115 MSRP in South Korea, where it has been marketed with on-device proactive AI functionality.
As part of the initial promotion, Sprint is offering aggressive monthly pricing for both devices. The LG V50 ThinQ 5G can be had for $24 per month with $0 down, which would be $576 over 24 months — a discount of 50%. By comparison, HTC’s 5G Hub hotspot is priced at $12.50 monthly over 24 months, again half off the normal $600 price. The 5G Hub features an integrated color touchscreen, and can be used for video playback in addition to serving content to other devices.
“LG V50 ThinQ 5G and HTC 5G Hub are innovation marvels, and they are ideal to be the first to bring the power of both Sprint 5G and 4G LTE Advanced to our customers,” said Sprint CEO Michel Combes. “I am proud of the close collaboration with LG, Qualcomm, and HTC that has brought us to this momentous milestone.”
The fourth-place U.S. carrier is requiring most new 5G customers to sign up for an “Unlimited Premium” plan for $80 per month, slightly under Verizon’s most affordable unlimited 5G plan. Existing customers “may be required to change plans,” as well. It’s unclear how fast Sprint’s initial 5G service will be, as the company is promising up to 10 times faster performance than 4G over time, beginning with “blazing-fast speeds” even at the beginning of the launches.
To sweeten the $80 deal, Sprint says that its unlimited 5G plan will include Hulu, Amazon Prime, Twitch Prime, Tidal HiFi, and 100GB of LTE hotspot access for one user; a second user can add a line for $60 more. In small print, Sprint notes that the hotspot access will drop to 3G speeds after 100GB of usage.
Somewhat confusingly, Sprint is also offering HTC 5G Hub users a less expensive data plan that’s limited in monthly usage. Sprint says that it will sell 100GB of “high-speed data” for $60 per month, cutting mobile hotspot performance to 2G (not a typo) speeds after 100GB of usage. That’s $10 less than AT&T is charging for a much smaller quantity of 5G data.
Sprint’s announcement comes on the same day that Verizon began sales of the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, its first fully integrated smartphone, and roughly a month after Verizon commenced mobile 5G service in two U.S. cities. By comparison, AT&T claims that it is offering 5G service in 19 cities, but has not yet commenced sales of 5G devices to the general population. Over “the next few weeks” following the May 31 four-city launch, Sprint will add five more cities to its 5G network, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.