T-Mobile has announced an agreement with Leap Licenseco, an AT&T subsidiary, to acquire a section of A-Block 700 MHz band for extended LTE in the greater Chicago area. Although the deal has to be approved by regulators, once it is complete, it will give the carrier extended LTE bandwidth in the top 10 major metro areas in the United States. For those not familiar with the 700 MHz block, it is what allows the carrier to get LTE into remote places as well as into buildings in urban areas. This is represented by Band 12 on their network when you access it on your phone.
The deal would bring LTE coverage to areas throughout the Chicago area as well as some parts of Wisconsin.
This additional spectrum being purchased in this transaction covers many different towns and cities in the Greater Chicago area, including Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Waukegan, Evanston, Naperville, Aurora, Gary (IN), Rockford, De Kalb, Janesville (WI), Bloomington, Normal, Kankakee, Kenosha (WI) and more.
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year at which point T-Mobile can begin equipping their towers to support the new coverage.
While the news is obviously good for T-Mobile customers, it is also good for Project Fi customers. All three of the current Nexus phones that are compatible with Project Fi, the Nexus 6, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, all support LTE Band 12 and the 700 MHz spectrum. That means for Fi customers in Chicago, your coverage is going to get a lot better starting next year.
You can read the full Press Release from T-Mobile on their news site.