T-Mobile recently won an FCC wireless auction for a chunk of the wireless airwave spectrum, spending US$8 billion to expand its network. It acquired over 1,500 wireless licenses in the 600MHz range. That’s a low frequency spectrum that can travel longer distances, and it’s considered high quality—the kind of high quality that would put T-Mobile on par with AT&T and Verizon.
T-Mobile Network Will Expand…Eventually
Right now, this part of the spectrum is used by television broadcasters, and it won’t clear until early 2020 or so. The company says some of its new spectrum will be usable though, by T-Mobile as well as its subsidiary MetroPCS.
Current smartphones aren’t capable of operating on 600MHz frequencies, but that will change. Qualcomm is already working on new chips that will appear on the market over the next several years. But there’s no hurry…or is there?
Another arrival in the 2020s will be the expansion of wireless networks to 5G speeds. This means that T-Mobile will catch up to the other carriers just as an entirely new network category will appear.