T-Mobile's network has reportedly been affected by a bitcoin mining operation in Brooklyn, New York, according to a recent report from the FCC. Details about the operation and the interference it was causing to T-Mobile's network in the area were discovered in an FCC document written by the bureaus Victor Rosario and sent out to the individual who was running the operation out of their residence in Brooklyn.
The report states that the mining operation, which is said to have been powered by a device called the Antminer s5 Bitcoin Miner, was emitting radio waves that were interfering with T-Mobile's 700MHz network in the area, which was causing issues for the network and likely for subscribers, though it isn't mentioned what was actually happening as it was merely described as "harmful interference." Since T-Mobile complained about the network interference and got the FCC involved, the individual running the operation was reportedly risking violation of federal law which could have resulted in potential jail time and fines if the operation didn't cease immediately.
While it's unlikely that the operation referred to in the report continued, the whole situation points out a side of bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency mining in general that many may not consider – interference with wireless carrier networks. Worth noting is that this is not necessarily something which happens often, though it does pose a problem when it does happen. In T-Mobile's case, the 700MHz spectrum is a low-band LTE spectrum the company uses to help better-penetrate buildings so subscribers are able to use their phones in-doors with improved performance and reliability. Naturally if this was being hindered in any way, T-Mobile would want to take action to stop whatever was causing the problems, as would any carrier. Though T-Mobile nor the FCC mention if subscribers were experiencing any issues with not being able to connect, this is a likely scenario for what the interference was doing. The situation is also a different side to cryptocurrency mining that is likely to be less talked about compared to the issue of rising costs on computer graphics cards thanks to their high demand and heavy use for mining cryptocurrency.