T-Mobile Receives Government Approval To Test Shared Airwaves

T-Mobile has received a go-ahead from US Communications Regulators to “test the impact of commercial wireless broadband” on a set of highly sought after group of airwaves in use by government agencies. Any testing by T-Mobile would allow for both the company and the government to decide potential opportunities and challenges posed to wireless carriers seeking to deploy next generation 4G services on the 1755-1850MHz bands while sharing the bands with existing government users.

“The testing we propose is part of an industry-wide effort to build critical understanding of operations in this band, and we will be working with other carriers and equipment manufacturers moving ahead,” said Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile’s senior vice president of government affairs.

It was back in March that the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration proposed partially splitting the bands between federal use and commercial use. Currently, more than 20 federal agencies hold more than 3,100 individual frequency licenses within the spectrum bands. ‘

“By granting the first authorization of testing in the 1755-1780 MHz band, the commission hopes to facilitate commercial mobile broadband services in that band, which would significantly benefit millions of U.S. wireless consumers and help drive the mobile innovation economy,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

The Obama administration hopes to free up more airwaves to meet the rising demand for wireless space. Wireless carriers have been opposed to using any spectrum that is in joint operation with government operations, warning that the value of the spectrum is lowered.

We’ll be interested to see how T-Mobile’s testing of these airwaves plays out, as we’re all for the company gaining more spectrum to increase coverage.


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  • Roger

    Is this band part of the one T-Mobile owns and uses in the UK?

    • Sean W

       No. That would be the 2100 MHz band.

      • Roger

        I was actually referring to the Orange/T-Mobile 1800mhz band that Everything Everywhere is going to use for LTE. do the bands overlap? My question is mainly geared at if T-Mobile is trying to align their LTE with european networks as a means of affordability, convenience, and appeal to customers who go international.

        • Sean W

           That would be nice. It might bring phone costs down too.

    • http://www.phonewbie.com/ www.phonewbie.com

      no sir

  • BigMixxx

    didn’t they already do this testing or seek for approval to do this testing a while back?  I could have sworn they had already done this testing and provided the Gov’t with the results….

    • UMA_Fan

      I remember reading way back prior the at&t merger T-Mobile requested to test the spectrum and gave reasons.

      • BigMixxx

        That’s what I recall. But it had to be about a year ago though….maybe even longer….

        • TMOTECH

          This is the government we are talking about. They move as slow as possible so they can spend as much of your tax dollars as possible. 

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (???????)

          It was about a year and a half ago, I think. The NTIA had requested to allow spectrum sharing because exclusive access to airwaves was becoming unfeasible.

  • http://www.youtube.com/#/mrjlwilliams J. Williams

    Good news good news.

  • ghulamsameer

    Ugh. I just want news about the 1900 MHz spectrum.

    • Gary

      Yes pls. Give us a date tmo pls.

      • Anon


      • bleeew


        • http://tmonews.com David

          Guys, they can’t give you a date because that would be bad business. They can’t promise a date until they are further along in their rollout. Why promise a date now they may not meet? that should be fairly obvious.

        • Gary

          Why David? At least all companies got a goal. We are tired of that and i am one of them. I am paying something which i don’t use because of Edge.

    • Joseph Tongret

      I’m with you! This is a bigger deal to us apparently, then Tmo thinks it is because they haven’t touched on it much, or updated us.

      • TMOTECH

        You have to understand how much work is involved. 1900 MHZ UMTS is being done with the most advanced equipment available. We are putting the Radio equipment at the top of the towers for this project so there is as little power loss as possible between the radio and the antenna. This requires running a hybrid Power/Fiber optic cable from the controller on the ground to the radio up top. We are also swapping out all of our antenna. 9 antenna on most sites. This has to be done on 37,000 sites to start with then we will have to test it and optimize it before we make it available to the public. Trust me. This project is our last best hope to start climbing back up the hill and we want it complete as badly as you all do. Just please be patient and know that we are trying to move as fast as we can while providing the best product we can. It has to be done right if it is going to work properly.  

        • bleeew

          Yay. Thank you, cant wait to see 3g speeds on iphone, for a better rate than att

        • Gouv

          Do you think this would be cheaper to implement if tmo didn’t own the towers and sold them off??  Do you think tmo’s ownership of towers/sites helps implement the upgrades faster? 

          just curious as to what a tech would say to that…

        • TMOTECH

          That is a good question. I would guess that would depend on the deal that was cut with the new potential owners. The more equipment we put on the tower the more the rent is.

          Owning the towers probably does speed up the upgrade process because we don’t have to renegotiate the rent. 

          All that being said, In my uneducated opinion, it would probably make more sense to upgrade first then sell and cut a deal for future rent. And the 2 to 3 billion dollars we acquire for the sale will definitely be a boost to start building new sites in the future.  

        • Joseph Tongret

          Thank you, and big thumbs up!

  • Littlesis1774

    When will this reframing be done because I am getting iphone and I don’t want use edge

    • Ghuayu

      I heard around November…..

    • bleeew

      I guess by fall, but there’s no exact date they will be done

  • Johnwayne

    In Las Vegas and when I was driving I did see the “3G” logo pop up.

    • RAMAR

      From now and so on you will see this more often..Now your beloved Iphone will enjoy 3G speeds on TMO :)

  • bleeew

    Refarm+LTE+network upgrades
    I have a question about LTE, will the phones have a fallback hspa+ 21 or h+ 42 antenna for a fallback option when LTE isn’t available?

    • UMA_Fan

      That’s a good question.  One of the perks of making the bands for HSPA+ and LTE synonymous with at&t is that when phones are ordered in bulk by T-Mobile they can negotiate a better rate from the manufacturer since the at&t versions will work on T-Mobile with no modifications.  I think this was why the T-Mobile version of the GSIII was more expensive. Sadly since at&t doesn’t use HSPA+ 42 we may not see these with Tmo LTE phones.  But then again, since Tmo is launching LTE advanced, who knows if better phone hardware is needed to utilize that anyway.  It all depends on whatever chips quallcomm/nvidia/samsung decide to make too.  Maybe the initial devices will have hspa+21/lte only… but hopefully by next year the chips they will be making will be advanced enough to do BOTH hspa+ 42 and lte.