As T-Mobile continues to deploy in 600 MHz holdings, device support picking up

T-Mobile US spent around $8 billion to buy 600 MHz spectrum holdings in the most recent FCC spectrum auction, and has activated sites in Wyoming, Maine and plans to light up coverage in Oregon, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, North Caroline, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington by year-end. With plans to rapidly deploy in the former broadcast spectrum, the so-called “Un-carrier” is getting a shot in the arm as new devices compatible with the frequencies hit the market.

The LG V30 debuted in August and supports 600 MHz. It will be joined later this month by the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, which is essentially a ruggedized version of its flagship counterpart the Galaxy S8. In addition to being 600 MHz-compatible, the new device, built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 platform and X16 modem, is gigabit-class in that it supports 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM and License Assisted Access.

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere said the new smartphone “really lights up every benefit of [T-Mobile’s] network.”

Its 600 MHz portfolio is key to T-Mobile’s plans to expand rural coverage and deliver on its promise of “nationwide” 5G. at the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet and Communications Conference, Vice President of Investor Relations Nils Paellman said, “We can basically use our roll out of the 600 with LTE to also lay the foundation of future 5G. A lot of the radios…will be upgradable, through a software upgrade, to 5G. We think the 600 [spectrum]could be very interesting for IoT applications. Clearly, for a lot of the IoT things you will need ubiquitous coverage. The high bandwidth spectrum, the millimeter wave that people talk about, will never give you the coverage. When we do 600, you won’t have necessarily the same speed you would have with millimeter wave…but I think it’s a slightly different use case. For a lot of IoT you don’t need the multi-gigabit speed, necessarily.”

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