T-Mobile US will gain access to its newly won 600MHz spectrum in New York City more than a year earlier than expected thanks to a new partnership with Fox Television Stations.
The operator announced Fox agreed to accelerate its timeline for vacating the spectrum by 16 months. As part of the deal, New York City-area TV station WWOR-TV will make the move in early 2018 – well ahead of the August 2019 deadline set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
“We’re committed to working with broadcasters across the country to clear 600MHz spectrum, so we can preserve programming and bring increased wireless choice and competition across the country,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement.
The operator pledged to assist broadcasters in order to access the new spectrum ahead of schedule. Earlier this year, T-Mobile revealed plans to help cover the cost of repurposing certain public broadcasting stations not funded by the FCC incentive auction’s $1.75 billion budget. T-Mobile also teamed up with broadcast equipment company Electronics Research in 2016 to accelerate production of new antennas for broadcasters and secure crews for antenna replacements.
600MHz deployments roll
T-Mobile spent $7.9 billion in an FCC incentive auction in April and walked away with an average of 30MHz of 600MHz spectrum nationwide. The operator wasted no time putting the spectrum to use, lighting up its first 600MHz site in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A second 600MHz site in Scarborough, Maine was activated in early September, when T-Mobile also announced the debut of its first 600MHz-compatible smartphone, the LG V30.
Additional deployments planned by the year end will extend T-Mobile’s LTE coverage to 6 million additional US residents, taking its total coverage to 321 million, the operator indicated.