T-Mobile asks FCC permission to test 5G using C-band spectrum


As T-Mobile continues its 5G rollout, the carrier has submitted an application to the FCC to test 5G in the C-band spectrum.

T-Mobile has asked the FCC for permission to test 5G on spectrum in the 3.7-3.8GHz band, or the lower C-band. According to the filing spotted by Light Reading, these tests will be conducted in Las Vegas, NV; Houston, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Bellevue, WA; and New York, NY.

“Commission grant of the requested STA will permit T-Mobile to begin to assess, in cooperation with equipment manufacturers, how to best evaluate the use of C Band spectrum for Fifth Generation New Radio (“5G NR”) operations,” T-Mo explains in its request.

This isn’t the first time that T-Mobile has expressed interest in C-band spectrum. Recently, T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray described C-band as “an interesting opportunity” and said that T-Mo has “decisions to make” regarding the FCC’s C-band auction that’s set to begin in December.

Analysts from New Street Research have suggested that T-Mobile could spend around $10.4 billion in CBRS and C-band spectrum auctions, but that T-Mo’s expected purchase of Sprint affiliate Shentel could cut into that. They now suggest that T-Mobile could drop $9.3 billion in those spectrum auctions.

Via: Light Reading
Source: FCC

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  • Dsgb Solo

    T-Mo needs to focus on buying Shentel, integrating Sprint sights and deploying all the spectrum they already have instead of all the crap in this article! I’m a T-Mobile customer who’s becoming more disappointed and annoyed day the day! Get your priorities right and your heads out your arses T-Mo! I miss Legere so much! SMDH

    • Trevnerdio

      I’m confused why this isn’t progress. Do you not want T-Mobile to test on additional bands that will one day improve your user experience? What are you angry about?

      • Dsgb Solo

        Man look before y’all start jumping down my throat, all I’m saying is T-Mobile can test or do whatever but I’d prefer for them to concentrate on rapidly integrating and upgrading cell sites in rural America first. People like myself only have two real options (AT&T and Verizon) and that sucks. I recently migrated over from Sprint to T-Mobile and my overall network performance has been negatively impacted. I have dropped, missed or no calls. Failed to send or receive texts. Getting important notifications minutes to hours late. You name it it’s happened. Plus no backup roaming agreements like with Sprint just in case there’s no service. I do want T-Mobile to succeed but they need to stop alienating rural customers cause we want some of that Magenta love too like what y’all city folks been getting all the time.

        • AA-Ron

          You should call and ask for a dismal booster in your house.

        • Dsgb Solo

          I have a CellSpot at home but no service at work and that’s what bothers me. My wife had an emergency the other day and couldn’t reach me at all which is unacceptable and T-Mo told me they weren’t integrating the Sprint tower across the street from my job.

        • Jason Caprio

          It’s never going to get better. I have work-provided Verizon and my wife has T-Mobile. I have a Pixel 4 XL and she a Pixel 3 which supports ALL of T-Mobile bands including Band 71. Whenever we travel, especially to very rural areas, Verizon always wins. If we both have a signal, her data is so slow, nothing loads. Other times, no signal or unusable 2G/EDGE. This has been the trend for years. If you live out in the sticks, you might as well switch now.

        • Dsgb Solo

          Thanks for heads up and maybe one day a few years from now I may return to T-Mobile but for I’m switching to AT&T when I get off from work. AT&T has a tower a half mile from my house and share the same tower across from my job with Sprint. It’s definitely a winner for me.

        • Jason Caprio

          What town do you work in? I’m curious as to what each carrier’s coverage maps say.

        • Dsgb Solo

          Milledgeville, Ga

        • Jason Caprio

          In that area, T-Mobile seems to have a good signal only inside the towns. Everywhere else, “Fair” signal which pretty much equals unusable. According to RootMetrics, on the entire state of Georgia, Verizon and AT&T reign supreme while T-Mobile and Sprint are a distant 3rd and 4th place. Verizon has the edge on AT&T in your area but either of them will be a huge improvement.

          T-Mobile still has a long way to go and hopefully within 5 years, they will have better coverage from the merger.

        • KMB877

          Eventually, you can go with prepaid, like H2Owireless or Cricket. Both are MVNOs on AT&T network. But, you will have no international roaming (if you are a traveler outside US).

        • marque2

          Sounds like you should go back to Verizon or AT&T. It is not worth having TMobile if you can’t use them in emergencies.

          Unfortunately, though your story is plausible, we get a lot of trolls just saying bad things about TMobile – just because they are fan bois for the other teams. So I take it with a grain of salt.

          If the problem is real and the service is unacceptable go back to the other carriers.

        • marque2

          TMobile has roaming agreements. If the problem is in your home, you can call them and get a cell signal enhancer (it doesn’t use your internet) or a cell node (which does use your internet).

        • Jason

          Rural America is never going to be the priority of ANY mobile carrier, costs are too high to deploy good service and too few customers to justify it. Medium sized metro areas are where they make money. Higher frequency spectrum isn’t going to be deployed effectively in rural areas, it doesn’t have the range low band has.

          Rural customers have two options, #1 move to a more populated area, #2 wait until more population arrives in the area and it becomes cost effective to better serve the market. Carriers aren’t going to make large investments or improvements in areas that it isn’t cost effective to serve.

        • iansltx

          The rural US doesn’t *need* as much investment as urban areas though. You can rent space on a 200′ tower, throw 2.5 on there, and sell fixed wireless to folks in a multi-mile radius. In an urban area, good luck getting folks to switch to your service, and you have to run with a much higher density because you have to build for capacity rather than coverage.

          Dish appears to be betting on the rural side a bit with their recent CBRS purchases, and T-Mobile is trumpeting rural coverage with their SA deployment. So take your urban-centric elitism elsewhere (I grew up in rural areas, but even those areas were easy enough to hit with PCS CDMA, so 2.5 NR would work there as well).

        • Jason

          It isn’t elitism it’s business reality, it is a HORRIBLE idea from a business perspective for any telecom to heavily invest in rural areas. NO telecom company is going to bet on a rural area, the density is too low and the cost is too high. The reality is rural markets are bad markets for telecom companies, they provide service because they are required to in order to get concessions, spectrum, etc. from the government and into markets they actually can make money in. In return for getting access to those markets the government requires them to do a certain amount of goodwill and provide service in rural areas, often at a loss. It doesn’t matter if they have bad service in rural areas, there are too few customers to give them a bad name, they can reasonably say “you are lucky you have service at all” and people not only tolerate but expect bad service in rural areas.

          For T-mobile it isn’t about what giving rural markets good service it’s about what they are required to do as a result of the merger, they are already asking the FCC to let them out of a lot of those commitments because it isn’t cost effective. ALL of the telecom companies spend as little as they can in rural areas, they are very unlikely to even break even in those markets but they are required to provide service, it just doesn’t have to be good service.

          Low spectrum 5g will get deployed in rural areas because it allows them to put more devices on the same spectrum, not because it benefits customers. Higher frequency will be deployed in highly trafficked areas like interstates but not very often in truly rural areas, even 2.4 ghz let alone 3+ ghz spectrum has far shorter range than 600 mhz low band 5g.

          It’s an extremely competitive market, the wireless companies are going to spend their money in markets there are enough customers in to make money and do the bare minimum everywhere else.

        • Shaun Michalak

          This is where I think that you are wrong.. It is a horrible idea??
          NO telecom company is going to bet on a rural area?? You seem to forget that a lot of those people that work in the city, live or travel through a lot of those same rural areas.. Who cares if you have service at work, in the city.. If that is the only place you have coverage, then what good is it the rest of the time.. No one wants a phone that only works, at work..

          There is also not a need for them to “heavily” invest in it either.. The fact is, it is not going to cost that much more to put b41 on there, then it would anything else.. So the signal may only reach 4 miles instead of 6.. They still have the same monthly costs to rent the space, no matter if b41 is there or not.. It is a one time cost to have it on there.. and unlike in the city, one tower may reach 5 miles in every direction, so that does not sound very costly to me to put it in the “heavily invest” category..

        • Shaun Michalak

          To a point I agree with you.. But the thing is, T-Mobile “is” installing in just those types of area.. They put up a tower in Hazel Hurst, PA.. Population of 243.. You do not get much smaller then that..

        • Jason

          They are required to provide a certain amount of coverage as a result of the Sprint / T-Mobile merger, however they are already asking the FCC to let them not fully meet those requirements because it isn’t cost effective. They are going to do the very bare minimum, 600 MHz signals travel a lot further than 2.4 ghz do so you’ll probably see a fair amount of low band 5g deployed but as little 2.4 Ghz as they can get away with.

        • Shaun Michalak

          True, but when this was installed, it was over a year ago. Not only that, but where it was installed is mountainous type of terrain.. So that will really limit its distance abilities.. With that being said, I can name a lot of places where T-Mobile is lacking service, that is much more populated, and on much flatter terrain for more coverage area then places like Hazel Hurst..

          As for the FCC.. I have not read anything on that.. I know they did ask California to lighten up the requirements that they agreed on, but that was just for that state.. When they made the agreement with Cali, they did not have to deal with COVID and the restrictions from it.. Heck, they just shut that state down again in a lot of areas.. But that is the only one that I know of..

        • Shaun Michalak

          The only problem with your statement is.. They have nothing to do with each other.. The people doing the testing, and people designed, and hired to do just that.. They are specialized technicians in that field.. and they are not the mass installers that are actually installing the already figured out 5G.. With that being said, it would not improve, or make any difference in the actual installing part of towers if they did, or did not do this.. If they were redirecting the people to this from fixing their service, I could agree with you.. But they are not, which is why there is no reason to complain about this being done..