T-Mobile Fires Up 600MHz Spectrum for The First Time

T-Mobile has announced that they have turned up their first 600MHz LTE areas here in the United States.  The company rolled out the new spectrum, which they acquired at auction from the FCC earlier this year, in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The new low-spectrum will give T-Mobile a greater reach, particularly in rural areas and where they have not rolled out 700MHz yet.

The company is leveraging Nokia equipment for the rollout in Cheyenne and if you are curious as to why they started in Cheyenne, it’s a pretty straightforward reason.  600MHz, in some parts of the country, are occupied by television broadcasters.  That’s not the case apparently in Cheyenne so rolling out could happen immediately.  T-Mobile will continue to roll out the spectrum as it is cleared in other areas of the country.

That rollout is going to be aggressive too.  The carrier plans on rolling it out in six months, a process that normally takes a couple of years.  As for targets, according to their Press Release

This year alone, additional 600 MHz sites are slated for locations including Wyoming, Northwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, Western North Dakota, Maine, Coastal North Carolina, Central Pennsylvania, Central Virginia and Eastern Washington.

It doesn’t take a geography expert to realize that some of these areas are vast swaths of land but also keep in mind that they are rural areas that are generally under served by LTE today.  This spectrum expansion will help more Americans have faster speeds on their phones.

Speaking of phones, that’s the next big step.  Not all phones support the 600MHz spectrum and T-Mobile has been adding support to devices it can through updates.  This should change over the course of the next year as more devices add support and it is enabled via updates.