T-Mobile US to have test sites ready to go this summer
T-Mobile US plans to make use of its newly awarded 600 MHz spectrum as quickly as possible. The carrier said this morning that it now has official possession of the spectrum licenses that it won in the recent auction, and that it has already “started deployment activities and will see the first sites ready for testing this summer.”
T-Mobile US went on to say that the test sites will precede commercial deployment later this year. The carrier said that it has been working with the Federal Communications Commission and broadcasters, and that it expects more than 1 million square miles of area covered by its 600 MHz licenses to be “clear and ready for deployment by year end.” T-Mobile US has said previously that it expects to have rapid access to 10 MHz of spectrum covering more than 1 million square miles, and that it anticipates network equipment from Ericsson and Nokia will be available. The operator said that it expects that devices with 600 MHz support will arrive from Samsung and other manufacturers later this year as well.
T-Mobile US, Dish Network and Comcast walked away as the highest bidders in the Federal Communications Commission’s 600 MHz incentive auction process, with the three accounting for $15.9 billion of the auction’s $19.8 billion in net proceeds. T-Mobile US posted nearly $8 billion in winning bids, picking up 1,525 total 10-megahertz licenses covering 414 of the auction’s 428 partial economic areas. The carrier said, with its usual braggadocio, that it now “officially possesses a staggering average of 31 MHz of 600 MHz spectrum licenses across the nation, more than quadrupling its low-band holdings.”
T-Mobile US has indicated that it plans to be as aggressive with build-out as it was with winning the licenses, both for bolstering its LTE coverage and leveraging some of that 600 MHz spectrum for mobile “5G” deployments. T-Mobile US will be counting on the favorable propagation characteristics of 600 MHz spectrum in order to establish wide-area 5G coverage.
In a keynote address at 5G North America, Karri Kuoppamaki, T-Mobile’s VP of technology development and strategy, discussed the operator’s plans to utilize its newly won 600 MHz spectrum for 5G deployments. As Kuoppamaki put it, coverage counts in a 5G context even though the industry often tends to focus on aspects such as expected high speeds and low latency. He added that T-Mobile US’ strategy will be to utilize the 600 MHz spectrum for a nationwide footprint and boost capacity with millimeter wave in urban areas by utilizing the 200 megahertz of 28 GHz and 39 GHz millimeter wave spectrum that it acquired when it bought MetroPCS, which Kuoppamaki noted covers about 100 million potential customers across the country.
“That’s a very good starting point for us,” he said.
Or as T-Mobile US put it in today’s statement: “With the spectrum transfer complete, the real fun begins.”