T-Mobile normally makes a big deal about lowering the price of its smartphone plans, or special pre-order deals on upcoming devices. Today, the carrier has something else it wants to celebrate. It announced that it has acquired about 45 percent of the low-band 600 MHz spectrum that the Federal Communications Commission was auctioning off in the US.
What does that mean? According to T-Mobile, it means that the carrier will be able to cover 100 percent of the US and Puerto Rico with its network. Buying more low-band spectrum should, in theory, allow T-Mobile’s signal to cover longer distances, and therefore reach more rural parts of the country where its coverage has been lacking. It can also improve T-Mobile’s single reach inside buildings as well. The company also claims that the low-band spectrum it bought should be clear of the congestion that can be found on spectrum that’s bought and used by the networks of AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
T-Mobile expects to begin updating its network to use its 600 MHz spectrum purchase later this year. It also expects to be able to expand the reach of its high-speed LTE coverage to what is shown in the map above. Of course, you will need to have smartphones that can actually access that 600 MHz spectrum, and T-Mobile says that phones with Qualcomm chips with that spectrum support should be available later in 2017 as well.
One other thing to keep in mind is that T-Mobile paid a ton of cash for this new network expansion. It spent $7.99 billion to acquire the 600 MHz spectrum it received from the FCC auction.