Normally when a mobile carrier buys new wireless spectrum to use form the FCC, it can take many months or even years before networks are rolled out that take advantage of that new spectrum. T-Mobile is working hard to separate itself from what most of us think of a normal behavior for wireless carriers and only two months after receiving the licenses from the FCC for the spectrum it purchased earlier this year, it is flipping the switch for its first 600 MHz network.
The new 600 MHz network location for T-Mobile is in Cheyenne, Wyoming and is using Nokia equipment. This is the first 600 MHz LTE site in the world and T-Mobile plans to roll out this new network tech in rural America first because that spectrum in rural areas is clear of broadcasting today. T-Mobile plans to continue to roll out the network very quickly compressing what it says is normally a 2-year process into six months.
Additional 600 MHz LTE sites are planned for this year slated for other locations in Wyoming, Northwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, Western North Dakota, Maine, Coastal North Carolina, Central Pennsylvania, Central Virginia and Eastern Washington. With these new locations T-Mobile will cover 321 million Americans with LTE by the end of 2017, up from 315 million people covered right now.
The catch for now is that you do need a smartphone that operates on that frequency. T-Mobile says that Samsung and LG plans to launch devices that will support the spectrum in Q4 2017. T-Mobile is also working with broadcasters and the FCC to get broadcasters like PBS to vacate the spectrum it purchased.