600 MHz active in more than 1,500 cities

T-Mobile US has for some time pinned its nationwide 5G ambitions to its massive stash of 600 MHz spectrum. As the carrier works to repack that spectrum, Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray took to Twitter this week to tout the success of a recent low-band 5G transmission.

According to Ray, “The team just took another major step towards nationwide 5G by broadcasting the world’s first low band 600 MHz 5G signal on the live network, reaching hundreds of square miles. Proving again that low band is crucial for a nationwide 5G solution.”

The test took place in Spokane, Washington, and used Nokia equipment. According to a T-Mo spokesman, “The purpose of this test was to establish a successful 5G signal and confirm propagation. We’ll follow up with additional tests measuring throughput and latency.”

With the 600 MHz repack, T-Mobile is deploying 5G-ready equipment as it touches the radio sites. Prior to turning up 5G in 2020, the low-band spectrum is supporting what the carrier calls “Extended Range LTE,” which is available in more than 1,500 cities and towns in 37 states and Puerto Rico.

Low-band is just one piece of the 5G spectrum puzzle. T-Mo is currently taking part in the FCC’s auction of millimeter wave frequencies and is hoping to gain access to Sprint’s 2.5 GHz holdings via a merger.

CEO John Legere, in a statement, said the goal is “delivering 5G for everyone everywhere, while the other guys focus on 5G for the few–reaching just a few people in small areas of a handful of cities.”


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