T-Mobile Says Its 600MHz LTE Sites Will Be 5G-Ready

T-Mobile said Thursday that its new 600MHz LTE sites will be ready for 5G -- when that technology arrives -- as the first smartphone compatible with the 600MHz frequency on LTE is unveiled.

T-Mobile US Inc. started to switch on the 600MHz 4G LTE sites earlier this month, using equipment from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). The operator now has sites live in Wyoming and Scarborough, Maine, which it says will be 5G-ready.

"When it's time to launch 5G technology for consumers, the Un-carrier can upgrade this already-deployed 5G-ready equipment via software update, effectively turning on 5G on 600 MHz with the flip of a switch without having to touch towers twice," the operator says in a statement.

T-Mobile expects to launch 5G on 600MHz in 2019. (See T-Mobile on 5G: Starting With 600MHz, Looking at mmWave Future.)

T-Mobile expects to have 1.2 million square miles of rural America covered with 600MHz by the end of the year. This will include parts of Kansas, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and other states later this year.

This raises the intriguing prospect that some of T-Mobile's first 5G launches could be in rural America rather than big cities.

Of course, an advanced 4G LTE -- or even 5G-ready network -- means nothing if consumers can't buy compatible devices. LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) today unveiled the V30 -- the first smartphone available globally to support 600MHz -- T-Mobile says it will start selling it in the fall. The V-models from LG are known as a series of state-of-the-art Android devices for audio and video recording.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

Phil_Britt 9/3/2017 | 9:16:59 PM
Rural First Could Make Sense Though the revenue stream from rural communities could be sparse, the actual installation probably will cost less -- less existing, unmovable infrastructure and rights of way, fewer politicians to convince, etc. In the early days of WiFi, Wisconsin had the deepest penetration of any state because the existing infrastructure didn't get in the way, but it was also inadequate just for simple things, like calls from one town to another that resulted in toll charges.
DanJones 9/1/2017 | 11:42:35 AM
Re: 1.2 sq miles? My bad! Fixed now.
rgrutza600 9/1/2017 | 8:58:45 AM
1.2 sq miles? RE:T-Mobile expects to have 1.2 square miles of rural America covered with 600MHz by the end of the year. 


That does not sound like an impressive coverage area.  Maybe there was an error made...

KBode 8/31/2017 | 4:32:10 PM
T-Mobile Did you see this report indicating that work crew shortage could cause 600MHz deployments to take twice as long as estimated? Wonder if between this and T-MO's earlier comments on Sinclair if this is quite a waiting game. 
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