T-Mobile has detailed the transition process for the deployment of its newly acquired 600MHz spectrum. This carrier, which has spent around $8 billion dollars in the FCC's incentive auction, stated that the transition to the new spectrum will be in ten phases, with the last phase resulting in the carrier covering the entirety of the United States with 600MHz spectrum. It is necessary for T-Mobile to deploy its 600MHz network in phases as the frequency is still in the hands of TV broadcasters. The 600MHz frequency is very important for T-Mobile, as it allows the carrier to improve its LTE coverage through the wider range of LTE signals in low band frequency and improved building penetration, resulting better signal coverage in both urban and rural areas. The wireless carrier expects that the roll-out will be completed by the year 2020.
T-Mobile plans to start the deployment of its 600MHz network this year in areas where the frequency is not occupied by the TV broadcasters. Some of the areas where the initial deployment will take place are the entirety of Alaska, and portions of Montana, Maine, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Texas. The deployment of the spectrum will then progress into other areas after the TV broadcasters in those areas finish their transition to other channel assignments or frequencies. While the deployment of the network will start this year, the actual transition will start by November 2018, with the majority of the transition taking place in 2019. The last phase of the transition is expected to occur in July 2020, which include portions of Minnesota and Texas.
The 600MHz spectrum was auctioned last year, with T-Mobile being the big winner of the auction. The wireless carrier won an average of 31MHz of spectrum across the United States, with the carrier intending to use the frequency for LTE use along with its 700MHz spectrum. Aside from T-Mobile, DISH Network and Comcast both spent a considerable amount of money to buy chunks of the 600MHz spectrum, with DISH spending $6.2 billion to corner an average of 18MHz of the spectrum. Meanwhile, Comcast spent $1.7 billion for an average of 10MHz of the spectrum covering areas of San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia among others. AT&T and US Cellular also won 600MHz licenses, albeit much less than T-Mobile, while Verizon decided not to bid for the 600MHz spectrum despite joining the bidding process.