T-Mobile scoops up mmWave spectrum in Ohio - Mobile World Live

T-Mobile scoops up mmWave spectrum in Ohio

06 FEB 2018

T-Mobile US quietly moved to bulk up its mmWave portfolio with the purchase of 28GHz airwaves across the state of Ohio.

The acquisition from First Communications includes 850MHz of contiguous 28GHz spectrum covering much of Ohio along with small parts of Kentucky and Indiana. T-Mobile also signed on to lease an additional 150MHz each in the 29GHz and 31GHz bands.

In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the operator said it plans to use the 28GHz airwaves to deploy “next generational 5G mobile services in accordance with recent technologies that can leverage millimetre wave bands for fixed and mobile wireless communications”. The other 300MHz in the 29GHz and 31GHz bands will be used for microwave backhaul, it added.

T-Mobile already holds at least 200MHz of 28GHz spectrum in a number of other markets, including in the areas of Atlanta, Georgia; northern and coastal New Jersey; New York City and Long Island, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; and north eastern and south eastern California, information from AllNet Insights and Analytics showed.

Low band noise
Over the past several months, T-Mobile used its public efforts to highlight the importance of 600MHz spectrum as a low-band 5G coverage layer. But the operator previously revealed plans to use all spectrum bands for 5G, and recently stepped up lobbying the FCC on mmWave issues. In November 2017, T-Mobile tested mmWave backhaul with Ceragon Networks and in January took its 28GHz 5G trials into the field alongside Nokia and Intel.

Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jennifer Fritzsche speculated in a research note T-Mobile could be using its outward focus on low-band spectrum as a smoke screen: “What is most interesting about this is TMUS [T-Mobile] has been talking about its low-band spectrum strategy at the 600MHz level a lot. But as we are all looking that way – maybe they are doing a lot more than we all realise at the very high band level.”


Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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