T-Mobile aiming to begin AWS-3 spectrum deployments in 2016

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T-Mobile recently revealed some of the cities that it plans to roll 700MHz coverage out to later this year, and now we know that T-Mo is working to start deploying some AWS-3 spectrum in 2016, too.

During a recent meeting with analysts, Nils Paellmann, T-Mobile’s Head of Investor Relations, said that T-Mo plans to begin deploying AWS-3 spectrum later in 2016. “On the capacity side, efforts to reform PCS/1900 spectrum for additional LTE builds should span the next 2-3 years, while AWS-3 deployments should begin later this year,” Paellman explained.

Paellman also said that T-Mobile continues to deploy its 700MHz spectrum, which is having a “noticeable churn reduction in recently deployed markets.”

The FCC held an AWS-3 spectrum auction that came to an end in January 2015, and after spending nearly $1.8 billion, T-Mobile got its licenses in April 2015. What’s notable about today’s news is that T-Mobile is planning to deploy its AWS-3 spectrum in a speedy manner. To compare, AT&T said at the end of the AWS-3 auction that it would begin deploying the spectrum “in the 2017-2018 period.”

Now we just have to wait for T-Mobile to actually begin deploying the AWS-3 spectrum and for handsets to support it. Until then, you can see a map that shows the markets where T-Mo acquired AWS-3 licenses right here.

Source: FierceWireless

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  • Bryan Pizzuti

    Yeah, I was gonna ask if handsets even supported Band 66 yet

    • maximus1901

      No

  • Jimmy

    I’m confused. Doesnt t-mobile already own a ton of AWS spectrum?

    • master94

      Yes but Tmobile wants more capacity. AWS is all about speed and capacity but not range.

      • Jimmy

        Id rather have coverage than speed anyday of the week

        • Joe

          and when you get your coverage u will start complaining about speed.

        • Panzer

          Without both neither are relevant, IMO.

        • slybacon

          That’s why they are bidding on 600 Mhz spectrum this year. 600 Mhz is for coverage, but you need speed too.

  • Steven

    So details, AWS-3, is this the 600mhz? Also, cities and dates, do they know where they plan to begin? More details in general please!!

    • kev2684

      No. AWS-3 is Band 66 which no one has. It’s more along the lines of AWS band 4 penetration wise.

      Band 66 will include existing Band 4 like Band 12 is to Band 17.

      Most likely the first ones to get it are again, major cities with congestion issues, and then cities with no or not enough Band 4 LTE at the moment.

      No solid plans for 600mhz. No winners announced yet AFAIK

      • Jimmy

        So they wont need new equipment right? They can use the same antenna panels?

      • Steven

        Thanks, so in Band 66(AWS-3) areas, the footprint won’t grow any? Does this signal hit a broader area? For example, in Mobile, AL, I see that area is marked for AWS-3, but currently at my parents house, they get spotty, poor service, will this stay the same with AWS-3? Is this just Bandwidth buffer for the current footprint?

        • kev2684

          Most likely. They got this for capacity and coverage for the lower bands. Unless they add towers, of course.

        • Steven

          Dang it. That helps me none. We need a larger footprint, not more bandwidth… Not that more bandwidth is bad, but not the fix we need around here, I know major cities like LA and NY need the Bandwidth badly

        • Kaulana1989

          Get the 4G LTE cellspot from T-Mobile hooks up to your Wi-Fi router gives you 5 bars of coverage it’s only $25 deposit one time fee

        • Steven

          Our internet service provider is too slow to provide reliable WiFi calling…

        • Kaulana1989

          It hooks up to your Wi-Fi router all I need’s is 2 megabytes download I’ll give you five bars of coverage in your house LTE service HD voice

        • Goat

          Lets hope they don’t have usage caps from their ISP.

        • Steven

          That’s the problem, they aren’t very far out, but just in a service black hole basically, the only internet option is ATT and they get 2.5 mbps download, but only .45 upload. So, I heard about the 2 mbps minimum, but with upload for the voice coming from their side out, that’s only.45 and would more than likely have significant lag. I plan to test this over wifi calling the next time I’m down and see if they are ready for it, but I’m doubtful it will work as smooth as it should with higher speeds.

        • Kaulana1989

          4G LTE cellspot will work with your ISP

        • a d00d

          B66/AWS-3 is just a superset of B4, as said earlier. Signal characteristics are identical, except for interference issues from military and other incumbent users. Until you get B12, you won’t notice a difference, sorry.

          What you WILL get, according to the story, is more bandwidth as TMo tried hard to get blocks that work with their existing allocations.

      • dtam

        I’m not even sure the auction has started for 600…the first iteration of the reverse auction has (tv stations).

        • slybacon

          You are correct. Should start soon and hopefully end sometime next year.

  • Bradley Karas

    It’s weird with the pcs band 2 that they said it would span 2-3 years…it’s already all over FL

  • Mike Thaler

    Like some others, I am confused. Will present phones be able to use this AWS-3 capability? It seems to act as a “fill-in” for areas that already have service. Will it improve connectability in presently served areas?

    • maximus1901

      No existing phimes

  • JG

    Is there any upcoming auctions?

    Just seeing how much T-Mobile paid in this one… And the fact Alphabet recently took out a 2 billion loan for as of yet unknown reasons…

    I wouldn’t object too much if Google were to potentially work in conjecture with T-Mobile, pick up specific frequencies… Google could then lease their spectrum to T-Mobile (possibly for lowered data rates or some uncarrier incentives like free music streaming) so the carrier could make as much 20×20(+) spectrum bundles across the US as possible.

    After all, the better T-Mobile’s network becomes, the better Project Fi’s network becomes as well.

    • slybacon

      The 600Mhz auction is going on now. Will hopefully finish next year. Tmo paid $1.8 billion for the AWS-3 spectrum, and has up to $10 billion to spend on the current 600 Mhz auction.

      • Jay Holm

        Finish next year? How how a reference point? How long have past auctions taken? This is frinkin crazy!!!

  • King L.

    I assume this is a good thing if only they stated what the he’ll aws3 means!

    • FILA

      yea this too, what frequency is this?

      • Guest

        Wikipedia.

      • Jay Holm

        Exactly! It would be nice to know an actual frequency NUMBER!

  • Hurlamania

    Well I hope they count band 66 as one with band 4 to help with carrier aggregation keeping the band solid. With band 66, 2 and 12 you’ll be good then have the option for 600 MHz as far as I know the most they do now is 3 band on the S7.
    . Do they have the band set for 600mhz, T-Mobile says it will have it in 2017 so you would expect the S8 to have 600mhz but I haven’t heard of a band set for it yet nor more than 3 bands in carrier aggregation anyone have any newer info?

    • slybacon

      Band set won’t be for a while. Auction has to end, broadcaster have to get paid, FCC has to decide how the bands will be set up.

      • Hurlamania

        the band should have been set before the auction

    • Jay Holm

      Everyone seems to speak the language of band this and band that……what frequency is band 66?

      • kev2684

        AWS-1 (T-Mobile, AT&T, VZW) Band 4:
        2110-2155 down
        1710-1755 up

        AWS-1+ Band 10:
        2110-2170 down
        1710-1770 up

        AWS-3 (T-Mobile, AT&T, VZW) Band 66:
        2110-2200 down
        1710-1780 up

    • kev2684

      Band 66 includes AWS 1, 1+ and 3. It doesn’t cover AWS-4. Dish has separate band for that, I think.

      Band 70:
      1995-2010 down
      1695-1720 up

  • Hurlamania

    Anyone know was all the AWS-3 all the same bandwidth, 5 or 10 MHz ? Or did it vary

  • Jimmy

    Since t-mobile didnt deploy 700mhz on every tower due to interference. Once they start deploying 600mhz will they deploy that on the towers without 700mhz? Kinda like filling in the gaps? Or will 600 and 700mhz interfere with eachother

    • slybacon

      They have said they will add 600Mhz to 700Mhz areas that need it, and also 600Mhz to areas that don’t have 700Mhz. Shouldn’t cause any interference.

      • a d00d

        I think he’s referring to the Channel 51 exclusion zones, such as with KPPX-DT here in Phoenix. Incidentally, I’ve noticed new radios/antennas popping up on Tmo towers, and I can only assume they’re for Band 12, ready to be turned off when the TV station moves down the dial.

        I’m also a bit confused about something: wouldn’t it make more sense to trade with the other carriers to get as much contiguous spectrum as possible? For instance, trading B12 (which is a super-set of B17) to AT&T and get any 600 MHz blocks they have in return, and then do a pure 600 MHz deployment. They’re already doing something like this according to the AWS-3 story, so why not on the lower bands. What do you guys think?

        • dtam

          600 mhz is going to take a long time before it’ll be ready and tmo can’t wait. with carrier aggregation, I’m not sure how much it matters to have continuous spectrum besides probably having less equipment.

          hopefully tmo will just buy nationwide 600 mhz coverage but we’ll see

        • Eduardo Cuevas

          I have noticed them all over in Mesa too!

  • S. Ali

    Amazing how fast T-Mobile deploys spectrum. How many years has Sprint sat on 2.5Ghz and their customers are still waiting for deployments? Heck, its still 3G in my area.

    • Jimmy

      Whats your zip?

  • Alex Zapata

    Ugh…….. Always with needing a new phone……. I give up.

    • a d00d

      Yup. That (and the 6″ screen) are why I”m holding onto my Nexus 6 until at least next year: I won’t buy a new phone unless it has 600 MHz and AWS-3: it’s a waste of money unless your existing device is trashed, and I make a point to take care of mine with cases and all.

      • Jay Holm

        Exactly! That’s why it’s so important to pay close attention to these things, to know whether or not to upgrade. I think T-Mobile said 600mhz isn’t going to be deployed until the END of 2017…which is a big we’ll see which 2018 models have support! Right now, we just need to be happy with tri-band carrier aggregation.

    • Acdc1a

      That’s always been the case. You used to have the “illusion” of a free one every 2 years so it didn’t much matter then.

    • Johnny 5

      That is to be expected. New bands require new antennae. there is no way to predict that the next bands will be so its necessary. Its the unfortunate step to progress.

      • Jay Holm

        Still waiting for tri-band carrier aggregation to be deployed widespread throughout Houston. It would be nice to FULLY use all the spectrum now!

        • SirStephenH

          By the time they fully deploy tri-band carrier aggregation we’ll need quintuple-band aggregation to fully use T-Mo’s spectrum…

  • Guest

    This is great news, for me, just to be precise, because I haven’t bought a new phone recently. Thank You T-Mobile, Thank You John Legere.

    Looking forward for B66(?), B4, B2 and CA news.

    • VN

      Thank you John Legere! Thank you T-Mobile!

  • cehiatt87

    What frequency is AWS-3?

    • Jay Holm

      That’s what I would like to know! I don’t speak the language of “AWS-3”, I speak the language of an actual frequency NUMBER!

      • emcdonald75

        AWS-3 & AWS-1 is all included in LTE Band 66. The new Dish Network LTE Band class that includes their AWS-4, unpaired H block and unpaired AWS-3 spectrum is LTE Band 70.

        • cehiatt87

          Thank you! Do Does anyone have any insight as if this is going to be used to expand LTE coverage or if this is just going to be used to increase capacity?

        • emcdonald75

          More likely to add capacity. T-Mobile does not have many AWS-3 licenses, unlike AT&T (which racked up AWS-3 licenses practically nationwide at a cost of $18.4 billion), and most of them are in areas where T-Mobile has 4G LTE 15×15 or 20×20 spectrum blocks already. It is strange that AT&T, with all of that spectrum, has such a slow network, but their coverage area and reliability, especially in rural areas, still tops T-Mobile. I have been a T-Mobile customer for a long time. I really want T-Mobile to succeed by increasing their coverage areas nationwide, which includes most rural areas, and coverage reliability to reduce drop calls and no service areas. Coverage has gotten better, but I dont think it will best the Big Two until 600MHz spectrum is implemented and the 2G Edge network is shutdown and that spectrum is transitioned to LTE. And that depends on how much 600MHz T-Mobile actually purchases. This is going to be a competitive and expensive auction with Comcast and Dish, plus AT&T and Verizon involved, and all of them have very big financial pockets. Even the FCC is expected to have several rounds because of their purchase price for the 600MHz spectrum, which was $80+ Billion dollars. My mouth fell to the floor once I saw that figure. That’s the GDP of some small countries! The FCC is going to want that money back with a profit for “the American people.” Lol

        • TechnoRealz

          My question & pardon me if I don’t understand enough of the details to phrase it correctly but – with TMO coverage clearly 3rd behind VZW & ATT – why not transition their non-700 MHz spectrum ( HSPA+ (3g+) in the Band 2/4 1700-2100 range to 4G LTE to fill the gaps in coverage?

          or

          Is it that there isn’t enough or correctly located Band 2/4 to fill those gaps?

        • kev2684

          Not everyone has 4G LTE capable device. They will lose millions of existing 2G/HSPA/+ customers if they do a hard switch immediately without offering free 4G LTE phones to those customers and that could take a lot of time if they decide to go that route.

        • TechnoRealz

          Without numbers, I can’t respond to this assertion of millions. But I can only believe that it would be a single 1M number & not double digits millions.

          Being on the IT side of things in my daily life, at some point you have to migrate people to a more current platform dragging them kicking & screaming if need be.

        • emcdonald75

          T-Mobile is keeping their 2G EDGE service going for international travelers and M2M business, so I don’t understand why they wish to keep 4G HSPA/+ if VoLTE and LTE are their preferred cellular solutions. I am learning that the old antennas in rural areas work best with 2G EDGE, and I do not think those will be updated to newer and better antennas until T-Mobile begins implementing the 600MHz spectrum into their network. Might as well wait to do it all at one time when it comes to the rural areas for major network upgrades because they do not happen often compared to major city upgrades. Most rural areas, I believe, have work done at the base stations and not on the towers themselves unless something major happens that disrupts services or a major upgrade is taking place. There are people with way more technical expertise that can speak to this. I wish they come on board into the comments section and give their credentials and their opinions on the technical reasons and limitations on when and how to appropriately upgrade cellular towers, and any opinions regarding T-Mobile’s 2G to LTE transition, which began 2 years ago, I believe.

        • Jay Holm

          Now that the S8 is almost out, and will likely support B66, I want updates on T-Mobile’s deployment of B66, particularly in Texas, Houston, Dallas? I’ve tried Googling, but can’t really find anything.

      • Guest

        Band 66, FDD 1700
        Extended AWS, blocks A-J (AWS-1/AWS-3)
        1710 – 1780 2110 – 2200

        (Wikipedia)

  • emcdonald75

    I wish T-Mobile can work out some deal to host the AWS-3 spectrum owned by Dish Network on their network for T-Mobile customers. Did you see how many licenses Dish Network owns? Not only does Dish have lots of AWS-3 spectrum, but nationwide AWS-4 spectrum as well. I am also kind of mad as well. Why does Dish Network keep buying licenses with obviously no intention to build a wireless network? It is like Dish hoards the spectrum to sell for profit years later. The problem in this 600MHz auction is that Comcast is also bidding with intentions to build a wireless network or have some sort of MVNO deal with Verizon and maybe other carriers also.

    • Bryck

      Money talks b******* walks. :-)

      • emcdonald75

        LOL

    • Byoung Cho

      Hey EMC,

      To answer your question regarding why Dish hoards spectrum, it’s actually a strategy. Dish isn’t the only company that does this, Verizon and AT&T is notorious for doing this. The reason is simple…they do it for a competitive edge. Companies such as these hoard all the spectrum so that their competitors can’t get any. This is one HUGE reason how AT&T and Verizon got so big (along with the free spectrum from the government back in the day).

      Then what happens is once their lease period is about to run out, whatever spectrum they have left they sell it out to the smaller carriers at a premium.

      That’s why T-Mobile has fought so hard in the past few years for the rules of the auctions to be changed, because before whoever had the deepest pockets left with the most spectrum.

      • emcdonald75

        I guess I’m always trying to determine how will these business practices help the people, the consumers with their ever growing spectrum needs for capacity to help with our wireless demands. I forgot that the people do not matter anymore. “Corporations are people, my friend.” Lol

  • Jay Holm

    The S7 does or doesn’t support AWS-3?

    • emcdonald75

      Doesn’t. No phone currently supports the AWS-3 band.

      • Jay Holm

        It would be a lot easier if it were referred to as an actual frequency NUMBER!

        • Guest

          This is what it was auctioned:

          “The AWS-3 band comprises unpaired uplink spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz band, blocks of paired uplink spectrum from 1755-1780 MHz, and blocks of paired downlink spectrum from 2155-2180 MHz bands. The auction raised a record total of $41.329 billion in net winning bids, with 31 winning bidders winning a total of 1,611 licenses.” (Fierce Wireless)

          According to Wikipedia 1695-1700 is AWS-3 Block A1 and 1700-1710 is AWS-3 Block B1. And both are part of “AWS-3 A1/B1 + EPCS H”, which in LTE terms is Band 70.

          Now 1755-1780 and 2155-2180 are AWS Blocks G to J which is known as AWS-3 which is included in LTE Band 66.

          What I don’t know is if both, AWS-3 A1/B1 and AWS-3 (G-J) will be part of a new undesignated LTE Band, Because A1 and B1 is not included in Band 66. And who knows if T-Mobile only bought AWS-3 (G-J).

          We all need to know this because Verizon and AT&T also bought even larger amounts of AWS-3.

        • Jay Holm

          So how much spectrum did T-Mobile get, 10mhz, 20mhz? Also how soon will smartphones (next year’s Galaxy S?) be on the market that will support this spectrum?

        • Guest

          I don’t know which blocks T-Mobile got, it probably varies market to market. Maybe someone else knows or wants to research.

        • emcdonald75

          I think the majority of their blocks are 5×5, which I think they can use carrier aggregation to expand their current spectrum blocks.

  • jimjwilliamson

    so they’ll roll this out.. but still not expanding their coverage area..
    14 years with T-Mobile is about to go down the drain because the place we just bought is on the very edge, literally the coverage maps goes from pink to white across our new farm, of the service area.
    The phone rings outside, most of the time, but if I go in the house I miss 99% of my calls. The booster doesn’t help at all.
    So great.. T-Mo is getting AWS-3, but it does me no good, I have to switch to AT&T so I don’t miss work calls.

    • humpfh

      You’ve moved, and that’s T-Mobile’s fault? O_o?!

      • Guest

        What’s your message: don’t move?

      • Charmed79

        So people are not suppose to move?? Um T-mobile is the ones stating they cover 98% of the nation, maybe they shouldn’t get away with lying?

        • iCrap

          98% does not mean 100%

      • jimjwilliamson

        where did I say it was T-Mo’s fault? Troll much?

    • TechnoRealz

      You know how to use WiFi calling on your router?
      TMO also will lend you a Router for free too.

      Booster? So 20th century.

      • jimjwilliamson

        wifi calling, and T-mo’s cel-fi work great, in the house.. the problem is the range on that is limited.
        I just wish they’d expand more instead of beefing up places that already have great service.
        They’ll add a tower out this way eventually, and then I’ll switch back..

        • TechnoRealz

          If you are truly using wifi calling via a router then it’s either your house is too big or the router is too small.

          The TMO one is basically one of the top 3 routers (ASUS R68). you can get.
          And covers my 3k sf & my 500 sf detached garage correctly.

        • jimjwilliamson

          Nah, you missed the point.. it does work in the house. It is set up correctly… the problem is, I have 6 acres, and the workshop is nowhere near the house… the cel-fi doesn’t reach that far.
          I have extra AP’s int he house to makes sure I have coverage in the house and in the yard around the house.. it just doesn’t reach beyond.
          Funnily enough, I already switched back, ATT is not better out there.
          I’m going to get an exterior AP, and try to run some cat6 out to the light pole halfway to the workshop.. might be able to get some coverage out there that way.

        • Considered an outdoor access point for wifi?

    • disqus_jL4eYoDu9l

      If you have a t-mobile store near you.. they will give you a signal booster for free, all you pay is a 25.00 deposit. Next time if you are in a T-mobile store ask them about it.

      • jimjwilliamson

        tried it already.. not enough signal for it to boost.. and the cel-fi doesn’t have any more range than using wi-fi calling off of my internet session…
        It’s all good, I’ll keep the account active. My son is on it, and he lives in Clearwater, FL.. so has great service..
        when they get around to expanding again some day then I’ll switch back.

  • dorothy.brown

    I am getting paid around 6-8 thousand bucks on monthly basis online. Anyone ready to complete basic online work for few hours a day from comfort of your home and get valuable profit for doing it… Then this job is for you… FAVE.CO/20SR7Wt