T-Mobile only closed its first deal for 700MHz low-band spectrum with Verizon 12 months ago. Since then, it’s acquired more band 12 airwaves from a number of small, mostly independent companies and has enough to now cover 190 million people. And it has set itself a tough target for deployment.
During yesterday’s Uncarrier event – during the Q&A session at the end – the company’s network chief, Neville Ray stated that the company is “deploying it furiously”. What’s more, it aspires to deploy LTE in all of its 700MHz spectrum by the end of this year. Ray stated that they may not reach that ambitious target, but it will aim to have 190 million POPs covered before 2016 rolls in.
Of course, there’s a challenge in rolling out 700MHz spectrum in that, in many areas, there is Channel 51 TV broadcast interference. Before T-Mo can deploy band 12 in areas with interference, those broadcasters have to relocate to new frequencies. That said, according to a report by Fierce Wireless, T-mobile has successfully entered in to agreements with broadcasters which will see them relocate or “operate concurrently in 10 markets covering more than 41 million POPs.”
“Every month that goes by we’re adding more and more markets,” Ray said. “We’ve had great opportunity to coexist with Channel 51 incumbents and we’re going to keep driving very hard.”
As far as LTE in general goes, the company now reaches 270 million people with its 4G LTE network and still aims to reach 300 million by the end of 2015. This – along with the stronger rural and in-building coverage – will undoubtedly increase customer satisfaction and help remove the seemingly permanent stigma that it has poor coverage.
Have you noticed any significant network improvements in your area, or spotted 700MHz band 12 LTE? Let us know in the comments or shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.