T-Mobile's Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray took to Twitter to reveal that Samsung will release a smartphone that will take advantage of the wireless carrier's newly acquired 600MHz spectrum, adding that people should expect the smartphone to be released around the holiday season, while other OEMs are reportedly already making plans to release smartphones that will also use the 600MHz spectrum for LTE connectivity. At this point, no current smartphones, even the flagship ones, can take advantage of the 600MHz LTE spectrum, as new modems like the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem will be needed to use the said frequency. This particular modem from Qualcomm has yet to appear in its Snapdragon SoCs, while the latest chipset in its lineup, the Snapdragon 835, is equipped with the Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem.
T-Mobile heavily invested in the 600MHz spectrum, with the wireless carrier spending $7.99 billion to pick up approximately 45 percent of the auctioned spectrum. This new spectrum, which was formerly held by TV broadcasters, will boost T-Mobile's LTE coverage, especially in the rural areas, as its frequency can travel greater distances and penetrate buildings more efficiently. The company's latest purchase effectively quadruples the size of its low-band LTE portfolio, which will also allow for more users to connect to the network due to the increased bandwidth that's now available.
T-Mobile has drastically improved its network over the past few years, with the company investing in new frequencies and infrastructure on a regular basis. Those efforts have recently been paying off, with T-Mobile being the fastest carrier in certain regions and the second best carrier in terms of LTE availability, according to an OpenSignal study released last February. Nonetheless, some coverage issues that T-Mobile needs to deal with still exist. Among them is the poor wireless carrier in rural areas caused by T-Mobile's initial focus on urban areas due to the limitations of high-band spectrum held by the company during the early part of this decade. Since then, T-Mobile has improved its LTE coverage in rural areas by deploying infrastructure capable of using the 700MHz spectrum. Following all of the aforementioned infrastructure improvements, the wireless carrier now claims it is reaching 232 million current and potential customers across the United States.