T-Mobile’s C-Band auction win further solidifies company as 5G leader


In the midst of a pandemic, T-Mobile has chosen to invest over $9.3 billion in the recently conducted C-Band auction by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a result, the company has been able to acquire additional mid-spectrum that can further their 5G leadership in the country. 

Today, T-Mobile’s 5G network covers 287 million people with Extended Range 5G and 125 million people with Ultra Capacity 5G. Their goal is to cover 200 million people with Ultra Capacity 5G this year, before their rivals even get to start deploying mid-band 5G. 

As expressed by T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert:

“T-Mobile customers are the clear winners in this auction. Our already industry-leading 5G network enabled us to be highly selective and strategic, concentrating our wins in top markets nationwide.”

“As I predicted last fall, the other guys spent an unbelievable amount — because they had to. And even then, the truth is that C-Band is best for urban areas because it doesn’t propagate as well as T-Mobile’s substantial existing mid-band frequencies. For us, C-Band makes a great story even better, and we are incredibly pleased with our clear success in this auction. Our competitors had no choice but to go all in with a break-the-bank attempt to remain relevant in the 5G era.”

The executive believes that its two biggest rivals, AT&T and Verizon, “bet on the wrong horse — went all in on millimeter wave.” And because of this mistake, Sievert believes that the two are “now scrambling” and “writing big checks … to try to catch up.”

The executive shares that unlike its competitors, the Un-Carrier is getting ready to deploy Ultra Capacity 5G nationwide. 

In the recently conducted auction, T-Mobile was able to score an average of 40 MHz of C-Band in key areas that cover around 225 million people. This win will add to the strong Ultra Capacity 5G network of T-Mobile, which will improve its speed and performance. Compared to the 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum that T-Mobile is using primarily for its Ultra Capacity 5G, C-Band will be able to travel further. With its investment in C-Band, T-Mobile believes that it will be able to supplement its 2.5GHz spectrum in areas with a dense network. 

As of this writing, T-Mobile is the only carrier that delivers standalone 5G and 5G Carrier Aggregation, two innovations that expand its 5G coverage, improve network response times, and combine different layers of capacity for greater speed and performance. Comparing this with millimeter wave owned by its rivals, there are some advantages. Even though millimeter wave can offer fast speeds, it is generally limited to a few outdoor areas in key cities.  

And this is why T-Mobile firmly believes that they continue to be the leader in 5G network in the country. 


Source: T-Mobile

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  • Anonymouse

    “Compared to the 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum that T-Mobile is using primarily for its Ultra Capacity 5G, C-Band will be able to travel further.”

    Are you kidding me?! The statement above is misleading. It should be the other way around. 2.5 Ghz propagtes further compared to the C-Band (3.5 – 4.2 Ghz). Even TMo’s presser describes their C-Band deployment as “ T-Mobile engineers estimate it will require 50% more cell sites for meaningful and continuous coverage, and in some areas, for example in-building, the required densification can be 4x higher than 2.5 GHz”. Please check your article before publishing.

    • AA-Ron

      That is a bit misleading, I was kind of confused About that

    • Shaun Michalak

      Haven’t I been saying lately about all the mistakes in the articles that they have been posting on here?? Just one more to add to the list..

      I am not saying that they need to be 100% error free, but lately I have been seeing multiple comments, in the same article, that completely contradict each other.. This is just a single example of that.

      As for coverage, if you looked at the picture at the top of the page, it says that C-Band will only get 65% of the coverage that 2.5ghz will get.. So it is not even with what T-Mobile says..It says it right there in the picture at the top of the page.

  • Zerovanity

    In terms of 5G NR TDD midband, 40 MHz is a small channel. You generally need 60 MHz for the real benefits of 5G NR. This is a capacity purchase for T-Mobile and not an investment in speed.

    • marque2

      Where do you get that info? Yes 60 is a bigger number than 40 but what speeds should be expected?

      • Zerovanity

        First off, T-Mobile’s statement that they bought C-band for capacity. Second, the big benefits of 5G are a reduction in the price per GB on the network. A 100 MHz can transmit 2.5 times the data as a 40 MHz channel, but both use one antenna and one radio. The only savings is on networking load.

        • marque2

          Yeah and 200mhz can do twice 100mhz. But just how much data does a 40mhz channel of 3.5 ghz spectrum provide? You can’t really say there isn’t enough capacity without telling us how much capacity there is.

        • Zerovanity

          The largest channel 5G NR supports in the sub-6 GHz range is 100 MHz. Although it is possible to use more than one at the same time.

          There are three main aspects to a cell network.

          Coverage: Can you make a voice call or not. This is where low-band shines. For T-Mobile 5G: band n71.

          Speed: How much data can a single device use if it is the only device connected to the tower and has a clean signal.

          Capacity: How much can the cell tower send to all devices using the tower.

          For T-Mobile C-band is for capacity not speed. For Verizon and AT&T C-band is for both speed and capacity.

        • marque2

          Still doesn’t answer much. Yes a 5g channel can use up to 100mhz of contiguous bandwidth and high end phones currently have 2bands medium one and there are now lesser phones which seem to do 2/3rds.

          But that still doesn’t tell me how many bytes per mhz at a particular frequency.

          Note that the 2.5ghz band 25 Tmobile has isn’t contiguous so often the cell can’t get a full 100mhz per channel.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I think your answer would all depend on how things are set up.. You say “how many bytes”.. I found this on how Verizon has theirs setup on their mmWave

          “The upload speeds on Verizon’s mmWave 5G will be about 30 percent faster than what it offered on its LTE network. So you certainly shouldn’t expect the same blistering speeds you get on the downstream. But it is still a good upgrade.

          Verizon is reportedly using 100MHz of its mmWave 5G spectrum for uploads. Meanwhile, on its LTE network, the company only uses 20MHz of the spectrum for uploads.”

          The point is, what something is capable of, and restrictions on how it is setup or what is available is not always going to be the same, or even close.

        • marque2

          It is interesting that boone can say how much data you can get at a specific central frequency of a particular bandwidth. I have been searching all over myself. You would think someone could post @ x ghz with a 100mhz bandwidth 5g can support Y gb/s

        • Shaun Michalak

          I find that kind of funny for the simple fact that I tried looking the same thing up, and came up blank too..

          I think the problem lies in the fact that setup makes all the difference, and if you just put down that you are capable of this, then that can lead to false assumption that a single person can reach those speeds, when setup limitations may not allow it. For example, what you can get out of a 5G DSS setup might be significantly different then a SA 5G setup. Not to mention the fact that what is capable with the way thing are right now, could change as 5G evolves.. That would be my guess at least as to why we can not find anything.

          Either way, we can only guess about what you might get, and used estimated guesses to what it will be like or capable of.. and on that note, I am sticking to my guess that they will be able to get over a gig down out of that 40mhz of 4ghz..

        • Zerovanity

          The maximum throughput of a 40 MHz TDD 5G
          NR channel with 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM is 925 Mbps. That is with no upload, only download.

        • Shaun Michalak

          Well, my numbers were not too far off then.. I said a gig down and you stated just under that.. Still not too bad of a guess..

        • marque2

          Maybe 45ghz 100mhz frequency is the 3.5 gb/s (for one channel) Qualcomm advertises. We might be able to figure it out from there?

        • Shaun Michalak

          The way I look at it, T-Mobile can get about 800Mbps out of 40mhz of 2.5ghz.. Since the higher the frequency, the higher the speeds.. I am guessing that they can get at least 1ghz out of 40mhz of C-Band..

          PS.. the C-Band auctions went from 3.7 to 4ghz.. The 3.4 or 3.5 ghz spectrum is an auction that is supposed to be coming up later this year.

        • marque2

          If you say 800Mbps out of 40mhz @ 2.5ghz, it will be closer to 1.5ghz @4ghz with the same width. 5g gets more efficient as the frequency gets higher (when compared to LTE anyway) Seems like about 60 phones could stream a 4g movie simultaneously.

        • Zerovanity

          Where are you getting this 5G is more efficient at higher frequencies? It is cheaper at larger channel size, but not significantly more efficient. With current technology, as long as 4×4 MIMO can be run to a phone (about 1.5 GHz and above), it has the same data efficiency for sub 6 GHz. Millimeter wave is actually less efficient with current technology, as it can only run 2×2 MIMO and lower coding rates.

        • marque2

          It is from the early articles comparing LTE and 5g. We are talking raw data per channel. Not MIMO aggregation.

          I would guess mmWave even with only 2×2 MIMO and a slightly lower coding rate is much faster than the 2.5ghz that Tmobile is using for most of the 5g. Also the best 5g phones only have 2 5g channels. Are they able to MIMO with 4g as well then?

          But that still has nothing to do with your original assertion that 40mhz of bandwidth @3.5ghz doesn’t carry enough data for your liking. Note that the 2.5 ghz may be 250mhz wide, but it has gaps and a 5g channel needs contiguous bandwidth to work, so you might only be getting mhz per channel anyway.

        • Zerovanity

          The spectrum T-Mobile bought in C-band is at the top of C-band 3.94-3.98 GHz.

          Where do you get this 5G can achieve faster speeds from the same channel sizes at higher frequencies? Both 2.5 and C-band are TDD and can run 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM with current technology.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I was not sure where in the spectrum that they got theirs from..

          As for the 5G comment.. Well, what you said was not accurate.. I never stated that they could get them because of 5G.. But the fact is, the higher the frequency, the more data you can get through it for faster speeds.. This does not matter if it is 4G or 5G. Your real limitations are the technology that you use. This is exactly why their 600mhz, or 0.6ghz frequency, they can only get a little over 200 meg speeds out of it.. You need a lot more frequency to get the same speeds the lower you go..

          To be fair, they technically can get higher speeds on 5G with the same amount of frequency, but it is not because of anything spectacular.. It all has to do with ping rates.. or latency.. 5G is supposed to have faster times, so faster times means faster responses.. It is kind of like comparing how many cars can get through an intersection in a certain length of time.. You will obviously get more cars at 35mph then 30mph.. Well, 30 would be 4G, and 35 would be 5G. The slower the response, the longer it takes to get the data.. but the results of the speed increase will be minimal from it.

          There is one exception.. and that is if you go to mmWave.. It is not that it can not be the same, but right now, mmWave they can only do 2×2 and 64 QAM.. This means that you need more mmWave to reach the same speeds on mmWave do to setup restrictions at the moment.. But if they got that working with 4×4 and 256, it would be the same.. Higher speeds.

    • Shaun Michalak

      The way I look at it, 40mhz of constant coverage is better then 60mhz of broken up coverage. But either way, remember when T-Mobile first started installing 5G in NYC, which at the time, they still used the LTE core for service, and did not have stand alone service, nor carrier aggregation?? A quote from back then..

      “The network initially got 726-802Mbps using 40MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum bonded with 20MHz of T-Mobile’s band 66 LTE, jumping to 1.2Gbps when T-Mobile added another 20MHz of 2.5GHz 5G.”

      Since things have only gotten better since they have gone to SA and CA in their 5G, and since you can get faster speeds out of 3.7ghz then you can with 2.5ghz.. I could easily see them getting over 1Gbps out of 40mhz of 3.7 ghz spectrum.

  • vinnyjr

    Don’t know which bands are better or faster but my speeds have never been faster. My average download speeds are between 100 – 175 mb, upload speeds are around 40mb. These speeds are during the day, all day. T-Mobile has come a long way‼️ THANK YOU T-Mobile, THANK YOU John Legere.

    • Shaun Michalak

      The general rule of thumb is that the higher the frequency, the faster of speeds that you can get out of them. But the higher the frequency, the smaller the coverage.. This is talking about frequencies off of cell towers..

      Band 71 is 600mhz, or 0.6ghz.. Band 41 is 2.5ghz.. C-Band is 3.7 to 4ghz..

      Band 71 is great for coverage, because it goes though walls and obstacles so much easier.. But, they said that band 71 speeds topped out at about 225Mbps.. Band 41 they were getting speeds of around 1.2Gbps, or 1,200Mbps.. and that was only using about 60mhz of spectrum of their 160mhz of spectrum.. So I think you can imagine how fast of speeds 3.7ghz is capable of..

      • ericdabbs

        Wrong about the higher frequency = faster speeds alone. The reason higher frequency has equated to faster speeds is that the available bandwidths that can be deployed are much greater than at lower frequencies. For example, Tmobile has on average 15 MHz carrier to deploy at 600 MHz but has a 60 MHz carrier to deploy at 2.5 GHz so of course the 2.5 GHz carrier will be faster since it has more bandwidth.

        Bottom line if available bandwidths are equal and standing next to the tower (ex: 100 MHz at 600 MHz and 100 MHz at 2.5 GHz) the speeds will be same.

        • Shaun Michalak

          Your comment..

          “Wrong about the higher frequency = faster speeds alone. The reason higher frequency has equated to faster speeds is that the available bandwidths that can be deployed are much greater than at lower frequencies. For example, Tmobile has on average 15 MHz carrier to deploy at 600 MHz but has a 60 MHz carrier to deploy at 2.5 GHz so of course the 2.5 GHz carrier will be faster since it has more bandwidth.

          Bottom line if available bandwidths are equal and standing next to the tower (ex: 100 MHz at 600 MHz and 100 MHz at 2.5 GHz) the speeds will be same.”

          While I will agree that having more frequency does make a big difference, my comment was based on having the same amount of frequency, same setup, and same 5G technology.. What you have said is the is the exact opposite of what I have read in every article that I have read.. For example, here is one article

          “In quick summary, the bands work as follows in the real world. One low band (600-700MHz) tower can cover hundreds of square miles with 5G service that ranges in speed from 30 to 250 megabits per second (Mbps). A mid band (2.5/3.5GHz) tower covers a several-mile radius with 5G that currently ranges from 100 to 900Mbps. Lastly, a high band (millimeter wave/24-39GHz) tower covers a one-mile or lower radius while delivering roughly 1-3Gbps speeds.”

          So what you are telling me is this article lied, and nothing they just said was accurate about the speeds?? This also does not make any sense, because then what would be the point to anyone wanting mmWave?? Since mmWave is so limited, it costs a lot more to run a mmWave network then a mid or low band network, but by your standards, these companies are taking the hard road with mmWave for no beneficial reason??

          In fact, since with mmWave right now, and they only being able to set it up in a 2×2 64qam pattern, that actually makes setting up mmWave even worse for speeds and capacity vs a cell tower using 4×4 256 QAM.. AT&T bought some 600mhz at the auctions, and then sold it off to someone else, and Verizon never even really participated in them.. If you can get the same speeds no matter the frequency, then why did Verizon opt to spend much more at the C-Band auctions then what they could have gotten it for at the 600 mhz auctions? and why didn’t AT&T keep their 600 mhz if it was so great for speeds?

          What you are saying makes no sense from what I have seen and read. Can you please quote some article or something that shows how I, and all the articles that I have read are wrong, or misinterpreted?

        • Derek Mounce

          I do realize this comment is 4 months old but I wanted to point out what you are saying is true but what eric said is also true. Yes 600 Mhz tops at 250Mbps because they only have so much of it.

          In my area they have 40Mhz or 20+20 if this tops at 250Mbps and you add in another 20Mhz then it’s going to go up to 500Mbps add in another 20Mhz and you have 750Mbps etc. what eric said is if you have 100Mhz of 600Mhz you will get the same as you would with 100Mhz of 2.5Ghz What you are technically saying is that can’t be true (which is wrong) because 20Mhz doesn’t get the same speed as 100Mhz. (which is true)

          A few weeks ago I was able to connect to b41 LTE on Sprint they had 15Mhz tho when CA it said 15+20Mhz and I was getting 170Mbps in some places but at my house I was getting 30-60 inside and 60-110 outside so I would assume that 20Mhz 2.5Ghz would top out at 250Mhz as the 20Mhz 600Mhz does.

  • Willie D

    Considering just how bad their 5G is, I guess their leader in showing how NOT to build or market a network.

    • Dummy Up Meathead

      Tripled my speeds – getting about 150 down.

      • slybacon

        Same! Tmo 5G is leaps and bounds above LTE in every city with 30 miles of my house. I’ve done a lot of speed tests and get anywhere from 100 Mbps to 605 Mbps on 5G. LTE was never above 100 Mbps in my area.

    • marque2

      And whose 5g is better? Please let us know so we can join this mystery cell service.

  • Shaun Michalak

    “Compared to the 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum
    that T-Mobile is using primarily for its Ultra Capacity 5G, C-Band will
    be able to travel further.”

    But the picture at the top says that C-Band will only get 65% of the coverage of 2.5ghz..

    Am I allowed to say, I really wish they would check their articles for accuracy before they put them up, because they post soo much that completely contradicts itself..

    For those confused.. C-Band will get less coverage, and will be effected much more by anything in the way, be it trees, humidity in the air, or walls of your house.. So C-Band will get “less” coverage, and it will not travel farther..

    • TenEightyPeePee


      • Shaun Michalak

        Sorry, “affected”.. Hit the wrong key.. One wrong letter being hit in a whole statement is not that bad all considering.. That is still much better then completely getting your facts wrong.. lol