In conjunction with FOX, T-Mobile is accelerating deployment of new spectrum

T-Mobile US continues its effort to aggressively deploy its 600 MHz holdings. Following activation of rural sites in Maine and Wyoming, the carrier is now focusing its efforts on the high-value, high-density New York City metropolitan area.

T-Mobile spent around $8 billion in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction of 600 MHz spectrum previously dedicated to television broadcasters. In an Aug. 4 “ex parte notice” to the FCC, T-Mobile said it wants to “rapidly deploy” its new spectrum. A key part of the immediate plans for the 600 MHz band is bringing “new competition and choice to rural areas previous unserved by T-Mobile,” according to the document, which summarizes an Aug. 2 conversation between T-Mobile execs and FCC representatives.

The first deployment came in early August. T-Mobile worked used Nokia equipment to light up sites in Cheyenne, Wy., according to the carrier. Later that month the build-out expanded to Scarborough, Maine. In terms of device compatibility, the operator said it will begin selling the LG V30 device, which supports the 600 MHz band.

Now the attention is on New York City. The 600 MHz airwaves were, in some cases, and are still in many more, occupied by television broadcasters. Per the FCC, there’s a 39-month timeline to make those frequencies available to T-Mobile. In NYC, the carrier is working with Fox affiliate WWOR to have the repack done by early 2018. WWOR serves around 19 million customers in the area. T-Mobile has a similar arrangement with PBS to facilitate a faster activation of the 600 MHz holdings.

“We’re committed to working with broadcasters across the country to clear 600 MHz spectrum, so we can preserve programming and bring increased wireless choice and competition across the country!” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile.

Earlier this year at the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet and Communications Conference, Vice President of Investor Relations Nils Paellmann discussed the 600 MHz roll out in the context of 5G and the internet of things (IoT).

“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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