T-Mobile US, which agreed to pay USD7.993 billion for a total of 1,525 regional licences in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) recent 600MHz Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction, has suggested that it will be in a position to utilise its new low-band frequencies by the end of 2017. Neville Ray, T-Mobile CTO, commented: ‘Our team has a history of deploying network technologies at record-breaking pace – including the fastest recorded LTE deployment in US history. We’re ready to break records again on 600MHz’. Ericsson and Nokia have already announced availability of 600MHz equipment that T-Mobile will use in its network. While the cellco walked away from the auction with an average of 31MHz of 600MHz spectrum nationwide, it says that it expects around 10MHz to be ‘clear’ this year, and thus able to use. The newly acquired licences are said to cover more one million square miles.
In other news, T-Mobile has confirmed that it has switched on its ‘Extended Range’ LTE network in the Chicago metropolitan area, delivering 4G coverage that carries signals twice as far from cell sites than before, and greatly improves in-building coverage. The 700MHz network utilises A block spectrum acquired from Leap Licenseco, an AT&T subsidiary, in May 2016. The spectrum covers 10.9 million people throughout the Chicago metro area, while additional frequencies included in the transaction cover a number of different towns and cities in the Greater Chicago area, including Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Waukegan, Evanston, Naperville, Aurora, Rockford, Normal, Kankakee, De Kalb; Kenosha and Janesville (both Wisconsin); and Bloomington and Gary (both Indiana). The latest deployment activity means that T-Mobile’s Extended Range 4G networks now cover the ten largest US cities, while its various LTE platforms now cover a total of 314 million Americans.