T-Mobile signed an agreement with NBC’s station NBC 5 / KXAS-TV that will help the company transition away from its 600MHz band in North Texas and free it up for the wireless carrier to use in a timelier fashion, the duo announced Wednesday. The move will see KXAS-TV switch to a new frequency more than a year before originally required, with the companies planning to complete the repack by late May, whereas the Federal Communications Commission attached a June 21, 2019, deadline to the project. Following the conclusion of the process, T-Mobile will be able to utilize the freed up 600MHz band in order to improve its local 4G LTE coverage, the Bellevue, Washington-based firm said. As a direct consequence of the move, the company is expecting to set up a system that allows for wireless connectivity that’s four times “better” at penetrating objects and offers double the reach of its existing solution in the area.
The development should significantly improve connectivity in Waco, Sulphur Springs, Paris, Wichita Falls, Tyler, and surrounding areas in south Oklahoma such as Durant and Ardmore. The 600MHz band KXAS-TV is freeing up for T-Mobile is part of the of the package won by the carrier at the FCC’s spectrum auction concluded just under a year ago. The mobile service provider said the move is just the latest piece of evidence showing its openness to collaborating with broadcasters that are currently using the 600MHz spectrum in order to assist them in the process of transitioning away from their old band. The accelerated deployment that will allow T-Mobile to immediately improve its 4G LTE network should also eventually benefit its 5G ambitions, with the wireless carrier repeatedly stating it’s planning to leverage its 600MHz holdings in order to deliver the next generation of mobile connectivity in the near future.
The new deal with NBC’s station is reminiscent of the one T-Mobile reached with Fox late last year, with more similar agreements being likely to follow going forward. T-Mobile’s approach to 5G deployment stands in stark contrast to the one pursued by its national rivals which appear to be much more interested in millimeter-wave spectrum despite its limited reach which is essentially forcing them to deploy millions of small cell stations and aggressively densify their networks to account for the inherent limitations of such frequencies.