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:
- Northwest Oregon
- West Texas
- Southwest Kansas
- the Oklahoma panhandle
- Western North Dakota
- 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.