T-Mobile starts employing 600MHz spectrum won in FCC auction (UPDATE)

Back last April, T-Mobile announced that it had won 45% of the 600MHz spectrum put up for auction by the FCC. That worked out to 31MHz of low-frequency airwaves won by the nation's third largest carrier for the amount of $7.9 billion. Low-frequency bands are in demand because they travel farther and penetrate buildings better than those of the high-frequency variation, which is why the process for the auction was fought in court for a period that stretched over two-years.

UPDATE: See a video of the first call made on 600MHz by clicking on the video at the top of the story. In addition, it is important to realize that while none of the carrier's current handsets support 600MHz, some flagship models from Samsung and LG will eventually support the spectrum before the end of the year.

After the auction, T-Mobile announced that before the end of the year, it would deploy some of the spectrum it had won. When the carrier announced that it planned to have some of the spectrum it won up and running this year, many rolled their eyes. The process of turning over ownership of spectrum normally takes up to two years. But with plans to deploy the airwaves at a "record-shattering pace," T-Mobile kept true to its promise today when it turned the key, stepped on the accelerator, and started up the 600MHz spectrum for use in Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

Other markets that will be receiving 600MHz spectrum this year include:

  • Wyoming
  • Northwest Oregon
  • West Texas
  • Southwest Kansas
  • the Oklahoma panhandle
  • Western North Dakota
  • Maine
  • Coastal North Carolina
  • Central Pennsylvania
  • Central Virginia
  • Eastern Washington

After deploying all of the new spectrum, T-Mobile's LTE signal will cover 321 million Americans, up from a current tally of 315 million.

source: T-Mobile



1. Soundjudgment

Posts: 370; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

And realistically... these few places would be considered 'rural' America. Where T-Mobile can actually deploy new cell-towers with the 600MHz radios in them at this time. Most city and urban areas still have working 2-way television and radio-equipment in use and they won't give those installations up for a couple of years, yet.

8. tyger11

Posts: 297; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Northwest Oregon would imply Portland, not at all rural. But For the most part, yeah.

11. Greenmule

Posts: 130; Member since: Apr 24, 2017

In my opinion, "Central Pennsylvania" and "Central Virginia" implies the Interstate 81 corridor from somewhere northeast of Harrisburg, PA, all the way into Virginia to least Roanoke. That area can hardly be described as rural. alot of that area has become bedroom communities of the larger cities to the east. The main thing is that it is a Sprint stronghold. Without going into it too deeply, a very large Sprint affiliate has a stranglehold on that area and I believe this to be welcome alternative to a Sprint vulnerable area. And, if you remember NEXTEL, the company that Sprint bought, their corporate offices were in Reston, VA. (on the eastern edge of "Central Virginia") https://www.shentel.com/news/2017/april/parkersburg%20expansion

2. Heisenberg

Posts: 378; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

P.A deleted a post right now. Wondering why they did so

3. domfonusr

Posts: 1094; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Central Pennsylvania is nearby. I will have to keep an eye on this, perhaps T-Mobile coverage in my area will improve...

4. redbaronk12

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

So...no 600 MHz support in HTC Pixel 2, then?

5. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1850; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Could it be that tmo is rushing to get 600MHz deployed because the Note 8 will support it and they will activate it with a software update??? Just a thought...

6. haydenb

Posts: 139; Member since: Nov 24, 2011

Thats great and all but most phones dont support that frequency

7. Duncdawg26

Posts: 181; Member since: Jan 20, 2017

No phones have the frequency so far. It's weird that they're pushing so hard to get it rolled out so that no one can use it for another 6 months...? The comments about rural America and the note 8 make the most sense so far... Hoping Wisconsin is in the next phase when there will actually be phones that carry it

9. shield

Posts: 870; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

N8 and V30 with 600MHz

10. PostmanLV

Posts: 44; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

And yet in Vegas we don't even have band 12 after all this time

12. yeayeayeaaa

Posts: 53; Member since: Oct 07, 2014

justndrove through central pa to eastern md and half of route 22 has zero coverage, and also parts of interstate 99 ,,(altoona johnstown area)

13. Pitrich

Posts: 239; Member since: Apr 13, 2016

How to you find out if your city is even ever getting 600mhz? For instance I'm in Milwaukee WI I'm not in a rush just wondering if we're in the plans?

14. iLexus

Posts: 24; Member since: Jul 30, 2009

Within 3 years, 600mhz will be everywhere across the country. So anytime between now and 2020.

15. redbaronk12

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

Would be nice if Goggle implements 600 MHz on the upcoming Pixel XL 2 so Fi users could take advantage of it.

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