- Today, T-Mobile announced that it recently brought 600MHz spectrum (band 71) to 172 new places.
- That brings the total rollout to over 900 cities and towns across 32 states.
- Puerto Rico is next, with T-Mobile band 71 coverage coming this Fall.
A little over a year ago, T-Mobile spent some big money at the FCC spectrum auction for the 600MHz band. Today, the company announced that it recently lit up 600MHz spectrum in 172 new places across the U.S., and will light up Puerto Rico sometime this Fall.
Otherwise known as band 71, the 600MHz spectrum was formerly used by TV stations to broadcast analog television signals. With no need for this spectrum anymore, the FCC auctioned it off to wireless carriers in April last year.
Using band 71, wireless customers who live in rural areas can get better signal, with some places receiving 4G LTE coverage for the very first time. The 600MHz spectrum also does a better job at going long-range and penetrating walls, which further ups the value of the spectrum band.
That enhanced distribution is why T-Mobile spent nearly $8 billion at that auction last year. The company has long-fought its negative reputation as only servicing urban areas while providing minimal or even zero coverage to rural populations.
However, the downside to 600MHz spectrum is that only a select few devices actually support it – and most of those devices are high-end flagships, like the Samsung Galaxy S9. However, LG just released the LG K30, which supports band 71 at the very reasonable price of $225. More devices with band 71 support will likely come soon.
With the 172 towns that T-Mobile recently added, it now supports 600MHz spectrum in over 900 cities and towns across 32 states.
T-Mobile also made a significant commitment to bring band 71 to Puerto Rico, where the devastation caused by hurricanes is still a major roadblock to wireless service. The company did not make any hard commitments on how many areas will see 600MHz spectrum by the end of the year, however.
You can read the full press release from T-Mobile here.