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T-Mobile CEO John Legere. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

The race to the next generation data network — 5G — is heating up.

T-Mobile and Sprint — the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers — doubled down on their 5G plans, announcing at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this morning the first cities to get the next generation network.

Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile said it plans to build out 5G in 30 cities this year, but named only four: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas. The company wouldn’t say if Seattle is on that list.

Sprint is starting with six cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

While T-Mobile is building out 5G in 30 cities this year, it won’t be available to customers until next year, when the first 5G smartphones come out.

The other carriers say they are putting together bridge plans, looking to bring 5G-like capabilities to customers before the networks are complete. Sprint said it will deploy an advanced network technology called Massive MIMO in its first six 5G cities this year. Verizon and AT&T both plan to offer 5G hot spots.

In its 5G announcement, T-Mobile lambasted the bridge plans of rival carriers.

“Dumb and Dumber are in a meaningless race to be first. Their so-called 5G isn’t mobile, and it’s not even on a smartphone. It’s a puck?! You gotta be pucking kidding me!” John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile said in a statement. “While the Duopoly focus on bragging rights, we focus on customers. T-Mobile has massively bigger plans for a truly transformative 5G experience on your smartphone nationwide. We’re playing the long game … the only game that matters.”

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