Ever since T-Mobile spent a whopping $7.99 billion to win 31MHz of 600MHz spectrum
from an FCC auction back in 2017, the carrier has been working hard to deploy these signals. Why? Because low-band airwaves travel farther and penetrate buildings better. And if you didn't know that from reading our articles over the last few years, you might have learned that from watching T-Mobile's television spots promoting its 600MHz coverage. And T-Mobile already has successfully run 5G tests on the spectrum
T-Mobile's game plan to be first in the U.S. with a nationwide 5G network calls for it to use the 600MHz airwaves in combination with its ultra-high mmWave spectrum. The latter only carries a signal for a short distance and doesn't penetrate buildings that well, but it does deliver extremely fast download data speeds and has a huge capacity so that it can handle large amounts of network traffic. Toss in the 2.5GHz mid-range holdings that it expects to receive in the Sprint merger, and T-Mobile hopes to combine low, mid, and ultra-high frequency spectrum to win the 5G race. Mid-range spectrum is hard to find, although there are hopes that the FCC will auction some more off. If T-Mobile is unable to close the merger with Sprint, which is now officially delayed until next year, it could be forced to push the regulatory agency to hold an auction. Merging with Sprint would be the fastest and easiest way for it to obtain the much desired mid-range airwaves.
T-Mobile has been promoting its 600MHz signals on network television
As we noted, T-Mobile has been promoting its 600MHz signals on television and today it released a video showing the five most unexpected places in the U.S. where the carrier has deployed its 600MHz spectrum. These are locations where you might not expect the carrier to offer its most powerful signal. In fifth place is Cannon Beach, Oregon; this location is known for its long shore and tufted puffins. In fourth place is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Several land speed records have been set at this location, which is a barren area consisting of 30,000 acres. As the video notes, "even the simplest life forms don't exist here, but 600MHz does.
T-Mobile has been heavily promoting its low-band 600MHz signal
Coming in at number three is Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. This is a quaint borough with a small population of 4,000 people. But each one of them can have access to T-Mobile's 600MHz signal. Next is Kabetogama, Minnesota. One review of this location, perfect for camping, says that it is a "Great place to get away from phones, TV and the business of life." But if you're a T-Mobile subscriber, it is good to know that the carrier's 600MHz signal will get you back in touch with civilization if necessary.
And the number one most unexpected place in the U.S. where T-Mobile provides its 600MHz low-band signal is Roswell, New Mexico. Known as the location where a UFO allegedly crashed in 1947, the wireless provider's 600MHz signal is available here just in case you are asked by ET to phone home.
With the lawsuit filed by 15 state attorneys general and the attorney general of Washington D.C. set to go to trial on December 9th, T-Mobile had hoped to reach a settlement with the plaintiffs that would allow it to close the merger this year. But that seems unlikely at this stage and the deal, which was originally announced on April 29th, 2018, now won't close until 2020. The plaintiffs are concerned that the merger will lead to higher prices and the loss of jobs in their states. Earlier this month, T-Mobile reached a settlement with the state of Missouri
and the state of Colorado has also pulled out of the suit.