T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray revealed the operator is pushing to light up “thousands” of 600MHz sites in 2018 as part of an effort to enhance its coast-to-coast US coverage.

In a year-end review video released this week, Ray reported T-Mobile has already built “hundreds” of 600MHz sites across the country in the eight months since the close of the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auction and is aiming to boost that figure to thousands in the coming year. Ray added the operator plans to start work on its 5G network in 2019, with the goal of achieving nationwide coverage in 2020.

T-Mobile spent nearly $8 billion in the 600MHz auction, increasing its spectrum holdings by 39 per cent and gaining an average of 31MHz of 600MHz spectrum in markets across the country. In August, T-Mobile announced plans to light up 600MHz sites by year’s end in more than 10 states, including Wyoming, Oregon, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. The first site went live in Cheyenne, Wyoming the same month.

T-Mobile did not immediately respond to a request for more information about its 600MHz and 5G deployment plans.

However, the operator previously indicated it will utilise all its spectrum assets – including its 600MHz airwaves – for the 5G rollout.

“In addition to the 600MHz band, we have 200MHz of spectrum in the 28/39GHz bands covering nearly 100 million people in major metropolitan areas and an impressive volume of mid-band spectrum to deploy 5G in as well,” Ray wrote in a May blog post. These assets will allow T-Mobile to deliver “a 5G network that offers both breadth and depth nationwide,” he added.