T-Mobile has announced that they’ve scooped up a huge chunk of low-band spectrum in the latest FCC auction, taking home 45% of all low-band spectrum sold. That sounds like some technical fluff that doesn’t mean anything to the average person, but it’s actually really important and really great news for T-Mobile’s network expansion plans.
Low-band spectrum is a big deal when you’re trying to cover as many people as possible. It helps with building penetration and range that you simply don’t get with higher frequencies, which has been a pain point for carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile in the past
The carrier spent a cool $7.99 billion on acquiring the spectrum, but they’re planning on deploying it for customers by the end of this year. That means this isn’t something that you should see at some ambiguous point in the future, but instead it will be a real improvement that T-Mobile customers will start to notice in just a few months.
The coverage map for that spectrum is really impressive, and it gives T-Mobile the most unused low-band spectrum out of all the major wireless carriers, and three times more low-band spectrum per customer than Verizon.
Those are good numbers, make no mistake. But to try and stay partial to everyone, it’s worth mentioning that the reason why T-Mobile has triple the low-band spectrum per customer is because they simply have fewer customers than Verizon. Big Red has roughly twice the number of subscribers as T-Mobile, so it’s much more difficult to have more spectrum per customer when you’re dealing with higher volume, which T-Mobile will also run into if they continue to grow at their current pace. It’s an excellent ratio for T-Mobile without a doubt, but keep things in perspective.
With all of that being said, T-Mobile is still building out a top-notch network that’s more than capable of slugging it out with the big guys. They delivered LTE-A features quicker than anyone else, and it looks like they’re on pace to do it again with the 600MHz spectrum.