T-Mobile 700MHz LTE shows signs of life in Waco, TX

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 12.49.57

Watching T-Mobile’s network grow and improve is one of the best parts of my job. It’s exciting to see the carrier not only show its competitive nature in its pricing, but start to compete with LTE coverage too. And, until T-Mobile launches its new interactive map next week, we can only go on small glimpses of action shared by TmoNews readers.

Among the most recent sightings is a 700MHz site going live in Waco, TX. The screenshot above clearly shows a 4G LTE Band 12, 5+5 network. In order to check whether or not it’s T-Mobile, the MCC-MNC and Earfcn numbers give us a clue. We’ve been informed that 5035 is T-Mobile’s Earfcn indicator, and 310-260 as the MCC-MNC is also T-Mo’s. Both match, and indicate that the site is live.

This sighting was specifically in Waco, TX 76708. Which – as we can see from searching in the open source T-Mobile 700MHz Google Map – is an area where T-Mobile does own 700MHz spectrum (screenshot below).

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 12.59.57

Band 12, or 700MHz LTE is being launched by T-Mobile to improve the quality of its network. Since it is a lower frequency to the 1900 and 1700/2100 bands, it penetrates building walls better, and should give stronger and more consistent 4G coverage indoors.

It purchased a huge chunk of the spectrum from Verizon around one year ago, but has also been busy acquiring airwaves from smaller companies and independent, private spectrum owners.

Apart from the sighting we’ve received, the map mentioned above indicates that several other markets where deployment is going on. Clear Creek County in Colorado, Kansas City in Missouri, River Falls in Wisconsin and Webster New York are all deployment areas according to local city planning documents.

Have you noticed any network upgrades around your area recently? Give us a shout via email (cam@tmonews.com), or Twitter (@TmoNews).

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  • Marvin Lilmarv Bolden-Mitchell

    But the 700mhz only reaches 40% of the pop’s

    • Roger Sales

      Actually it’s over 50% and pending a few likely future acquisitions will be around 70-75% of the US. 319M people living in the US, their current 700 MHz covers about 175-180.

      • RiskyBidThis

        They can get to around 265M by buying the rest that’s out there excluding U.S. Cellular, CSpire, and a few smaller holders.

        It’s not nation-wide, but it’s pretty decent since a lot of that 265M would be in places they don’t offer much or any service currently.

        • Roger Sales

          I think if they can offer low band service anywhere US Cellular and CSpire doesn’t operate(which is where the available spectrum for acquisition left is) you’re still in pretty good shape to be a strong #3 and imo, be profitable for the long term. T-Mobile can probably get to at least 70-75M customers before their adds start slowing, which should be enough to cover their fixed costs, not to mention getting voLTE roaming with aforementioned carriers to cover as close to 99% of Americans as possible.

        • Roger Sales

          so, about 83% of the US by my estimations. Not too shabby.

    • RiskyBidThis

      Maybe if you’re excluding areas where channel 51 is an issue. All told their 700MHz licenses so far (pending and consummated) cover 188 million POPs.

  • sushimane

    does anyone know how to get into tmobile xperia z3 service menu?

    • Mike

      I have been trying to figure that out as well!

    • Jon Krugerud

      I just wish they would confirm that band 12 will be activated on the z3 at some point

      • TMOTECH

        It will be. The avant required a software update and a special service mode to activate it on my work test phone. Once the network is launched nation wide they will push out updates to activate it.

  • Gerald Reed

    They keep adding to kansas city while after oak grove along i70 sits on edge till booneville Mo slow progress on interstates

    • Roger Sales

      You do know you’re at most 5 months away from your network upgrade right?

      • Romdude

        I don’t think he was complaining, he was just reporting what’s going on. I’m guessing interstates are harder to upgrade.

      • Greg

        Can you elaborate on this? Are you saying the 700hmz will be active in KC within 5 months? I’ve been looking for a timeline for channel 51 to move.

        • Roger Sales

          LTE of some kind will be along T-Mobile’s entire EDGE footprint by Mid-2015, they will probably be done in late May with this given they’ve always eclipsed their expectations by a few weeks. I can’t speak for the 700 mhz portion of the network since they haven’t announced a timetable given that some markets are in situations where it is not yet available. Kansas City has channel 51 but they are in the process of moving, so its very possible you will see 700A lit up in the next few months in conjuction with AWS and/OR PCS LTE.

  • T-Mobile Fan

    Only note 4 supports this frequency as of now.

  • SEBA

    Cape May, NJ lunched 15MHz LTE last week

  • Roger Sales

    Galaxy Avant, ZTE Zmax, Xperia Z3 also support band 12.

    • Joe

      And nexus 6

    • Penguin

      Also The Note Edge Has 700Mz Band On It!!!

    • eanfoso

      You know if the xperia z ultra would? It has all GSM bands under the sun, the international version at least, I used to have it, traded it, but now want one back if it does

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      Nexus 6 as well

  • Bordelais

    I travel a lot for work. Last week I drove 100 miles (mostly unpopulated desert) from San Diego to El Centro on I-8. Except for about 5 miles of mountain terrain I had LTE/4G coverage. Streamed music the entire way.

    +1 for T-Mobile

  • eanfoso

    I hoping it can reach west Texas! Then, I can happily switch back!

    • RiskyBidThis

      Which part of west Texas? Infrastructure Networks owns the 700A spectrum in large parts of west Texas and the Panhandle and is unlikely to sell.

      T-Mobile is in the process of buying the 700A covering Lubbock and may be able to buy the licenses covering Abilene and San Angelo. You’re probably SoL in Midland and Odessa unless they subdivide the license.

      • eanfoso

        I’m mainly talking about west of San Antonio, like that stretch from San Antonio to El paso that doesn’t have any native t mobile signal and at times no signal at all, with cricket we get consistent LTE and HSPA all through this stretch

        • Obi Alfred

          Tell T-Mobile about it on Twitter, they’ll listen.

        • eanfoso

          you think so, even if I’m no longer with t-mobile?

        • Mr Paul

          I don’t think they’ll care. Especially if they find out you’re not using their services. Legere said recently he thought it was amusing people complain about T-Mobile’s lack of coverage, so basically he uses whatever wins his argument (to him).

          His newly installed LTE in some city? He has the best, fastest LTE network in the country. His network doesn’t have coverage? LOL duh, we’re working it on, we’re not the duopolists!!!!11!1!

  • Justsomecommentor

    One person on Howardforums (Powdertoastman) spotted an upgraded T-mobile cell site in Desert Hot Springs, California.

    • William Kestle

      What’s your username on the site? I’m hellojello123

      • justsomecommentor

        I’m only a reader. Not a member. Sorry. I saw the post and the pictures that member took of the cell site.

  • Irfan

    i got Samsung Avant phone witch come with band12 , found its not enable , tried may be get some update over kies , none , then found the method on one forum and finally enabled the band 12 on Avant phone , did some tests got that band12 is not updated over all towers ,Washington dc Metro areas ( Northern Virginia , Maryland) . second issue i got that why t mobile do not have LTE Priority on cell phones , when i get LTE 3 bars the phone jumped to HSPA, band 12 is attivated on 5Mhz band which has very low speed but found yes we get indoor signals which is awesome.but T-Mobile and Samsung need to fix intelligent antenna switching .

    • enkay1

      Even though they’ve announced the DC market officially, it might only be partially launched. Considering how fast they launched it, they might still need to tune it.

      Also, the network controls what bands a phone uses when. Not the phone.

    • Jay Holm

      People shouldn’t have to manually turn a perticular band on. I can’t wait til carrier aggregation is deployed and ALL LTE bands are enabled.

    • eAbyss

      Band 12 is 700MHz…

    • virdel270

      There’s a simple way to enable B12 (700mhz) on the Avant.

      If you’re familiar with using Samsung ServiceMode, just follow these steps:

      1. From the dial pad, dial: *#197328640#

      2 .Press menu -> Select Key Input enter “Q” (capital letter) -> Press OK

      3. Press Menu -> Select Key Input enter 0000 (four zeros)-> Press OK

      At this point wait about 15 seconds and the menu will change from DEBUG to MAIN MENU

      4. Select [2] UE Setting & Info Menu

      5. Select [1] Setting

      6. Select [2] System

      7. Select [9] Next Page

      8. Select [7] LTE Band On/Off

      9. Select [5] LTE B12 (enable)

      Now back all the way out (Menu -> Back) then reboot.
      If you don’t do it that way, the setting might not stick. You can always check
      by repeating the above steps and verifying.

  • kalel33

    They need that 700Mhz in Clear County CO. That area is littered with tons of ski resorts.

    • Terry

      They own it here and all of Colorado. They can not deploy in or near Denver because of KCEC Univision.

      • KlausWillSeeYouNow

        Sad to think Mexican soap operas are preventing a robust network from rolling out. #relocatethatchannel

  • YABD

    No luck for Indiana, since channel 51 own it, and not trying to sell it to tmobile.

  • Justin Smith

    Definitely could be wideband! Do you have a Samsung phone and know how to get to service mode? If not I’d check the LTE Discovery app