T-Mobile has announced that its first low-band 600 MHz spectrum sites are expected to “light up” from August. The move was discussed in the company’s Q2 2017 earnings report released yesterday, and it would pave the way for a better mobile internet experience for T-Mobile customers.
“At least 10 MHz covering more than 1.2 million square miles of 600 MHz spectrum will be cleared and ready to deploy in 2017, with several compatible devices ready for the 2017 holiday season,” wrote T-Mobile in the report, adding, “We will use a portion of our 600 MHz spectrum holdings to deploy America’s first nationwide 5G network in the 2019 / 2020 time frame.”
T-Mobile secured around 45 percent of the 600 MHz spectrum in an FCC auction earlier this year — more than any other organization — which the company says will carpet “100%” of the US. The also move marked T-Mobile’s largest ever investment, costing the company almost $8 billion.
The 600 MHz spectrum is valuable because it can cover longer distances (i.e. rural areas), improve reception inside buildings, and should be less congested than the mid-band and high-band spectrum already in operation. Specific hardware is required to make access those frequencies, it isn’t possible on every device, but T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray announced on Monday that (unnamed) phones from Samsung and LG would support the 600 MHz band this year (potentially the LG V30 and Galaxy Note 8).
“Our network remains the fastest in America and has been for the last fourteen quarters in a row. Our network continues to get faster while the Duopoly’s networks get slower in the wake of their unlimited launches,” said T-Mobile.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile also took the opportunity to announce that its 700 MHz deployment is “essentially complete, live in 575 market areas covering 271 million people.”
T-Mobile hasn’t revealed in which locations the 600 MHz sites would be activated, so even if you end up buying a compatible phone, you might not have access to the frequency band for the time being. Still, these are just early moves from T-Mobile — the carrier is in a strong position with regards to the next few years of mobile internet.
What are your thoughts on T-Mobiles 600 MHz ambitions? Let us know in the comments.