Florida has never been a terribly hot battleground for wireless providers, since most areas are already well-served by at least three out of the big four carriers. T-Mobile, however, is going the extra mile in light of the Florida State Fair, happening near Tampa from February 4th to the 15th. Sourced from an anonymous tipster, likely an industry insider or T-Mobile employee, TmoNews snagged the undated memo below. Residents of central Florida outside of the Tampa Bay and Orlando metropolitan areas are likely well aware that service in rural areas of central Florida for T-Mobile customers can be spotty, with some areas of the highway, particularly along Interstates 4 and 75, showing low coverage or complete dead zones. In order to help solve this situation and provide customers attending the Florida State Fair with better coverage, T-Mobile has laid down a new LTE tower near Orient Park, just outside of Tampa.
This new tower was put in place and is in temporary service for the Florida State Fair, but will continue to operate on a permanent basis, according to the memo. The tower operates on the 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE frequencies, which should provide fairly good range and building penetration. Although this may have little effect on areas such as Clearwater, Lakeland and St. Petersburg, which already have fairly good coverage, some of the smaller outlying cities and towns near Tampa, such as Temple Terrace and Seffner, may see a boost from the new tower. The memo is undated, but refers to the Florida State Fair, which is already underway. It is to be assumed, therefore, that the tower has been operational for a few days, likely since the start of the fair, although there was nothing conclusive of that nature in the memo.
This move, bringing improved LTE coverage to areas of Central Florida that were previously under-served, is part of an ongoing network densification effort by T-Mobile. It is not entirely uncommon to hear of former T-Mobile customers who either moved or began travelling and made the switch to another carrier due to spotty rural and highway coverage from T-Mobile, making this move and others like it highly likely to pan out in T-Mobile’s favor. With the upcoming FCC spectrum auction in March putting valuable and easy to deploy low-band LTE spectrum on offer, T-Mobile will likely use any winnings to continue building out the range and quality of their network, resulting in more deployments like this.