T-Mobile's new 600MHz network will "explode" in 2018 as far as commercial availability is concerned, the company's Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said Thursday as part of his pre-recorded recap of the wireless carrier's calendar and fiscal year. In the video that can be seen below, Mr. Ray reiterated "what a success" the spring spectrum auction held by the United States Federal Trade Commission has been for the company, noting how it allowed T-Mobile to grow its spectrum portfolio by 39 percent after investing approximately $8 billion into new holdings. The Bellevue, Washington-based mobile service provider is already in the process of deploying the acquired spectrum since late summer and while the number of devices that actually support the band is still somewhat limited, it's expected to expand simultaneously with the network itself throughout 2018, Mr. Ray suggested.
With hundreds of 600MHz sites already built and much more being in the works, T-Mobile is planning to have its low-band coverage entail the entire country in the near future, with the number of its active sites being set to increase tenfold over the course of the next year. T-Mobile CTO also said the firm is "super proud" of its DIGITS service which launched in late May, allowing its customers to use multiple devices with a single phone number. Following the positive response from consumers, T-Mobile is planning on continuing support for DIGITS moving into 2018. The industry veteran unsurprisingly didn't fail to mock Verizon as part of his year-end address, once again citing Open Signal-compiled data suggesting the largest wireless carrier in the country tanked its network after reintroducing unlimited plans in response to T-Mobile's unlimited offerings.
T-Mobile's long-term strategy is also committed to the Internet of Things segment, Mr. Neville said, reiterating how the firm was the first to announce the launch of an NB-IoT network in the LTE band this year. In terms of mobile network improvements, T-Mobile managed to exceed 1Gbps speeds while solely relying on its licensed spectrum just last week, its CTO revealed, adding that the breakthrough test was performed in Augusta, Georgia. Finally, the tech executive reflected on the upcoming commercialization efforts in the 5G space, estimating that first fully 5G-enabled phones are likely to hit the market in early 2019 which is when T-Mobile is planning to start its buildout with the goal of having nationwide 5G coverage by 2020. His yearly recap didn't include any mentions of T-Mobile's failed merger negotiations with SoftBank-owned Sprint, arguably the wireless carrier's biggest misstep of the year which some industry analysts estimate cost it up to $50 billion in synergies.