Less than a year since it spent around $420 million in order to acquire 700 MegaHertz airwaves, T-Mobile is now debuting wireless service in that spectrum band in the city of Chicago. Branded as “Extended Range LTE,” the service is being rolled out to the Windy City’s downtown, suburban, and outlying areas. Moreover, the third biggest wireless carrier in the United States has revealed that it is planning to launch over 40 T-Mobile and MetroPCS (a prepaid arm of T-Mobile’s) outlets within the Chicago metropolitan area and surrounding areas. If completed, this deployment should expand the mobile operator’s retail presence in the metro by 20 percent. T-Mobile also took the opportunity to highlight the fact that 700 MegaHertz airwaves are capable of transmitting signals twice as far from cellular sites, effectively achieving four times as much penetrating power especially in building interiors. Apart from hosting the debut of T-Mobile’s 700 MegaHertz service, Chicago also has the honor of being the first city to enjoy access to the wireless carrier’s small cells.
As explained by Jennifer Silveira, the vice president of engineering for T-Mobile’s central region, via a press release, Extended Range LTE should deliver improved quality of network coverage for customers of T-Mobile and MetroPCS based in Chicago, whether it is indoors or outdoors. Silveira also added that T-Mobile’s crew of engineers are busy putting final touches to the carrier’s upcoming 256 QAM, three carrier aggregation, and 4 X 4 MIMO.
It was in May of last year when T-Mobile had acquired 12 MegaHertz of 700 MegaHertz A Block spectrum in Chicago. Those airwaves were previously purchased by another major US mobile operator, Verizon Wireless, for a sum of $153 million (or equivalent to $1.23/MegaHertz/POP) at an auction held almost a decade ago. The spectrum was later spun into another company before T-Mobile got its hands on it a year ago. Now, the mobile operator is looking to expand its service in that particular spectrum band in each of the ten biggest markets in the US.
Once again, T-Mobile has expressed its commitment to start debuting wireless service on some of its new 600 MegaHertz spectrum before the end of this year. In the recent auction held by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the mobile operator emerged as the top bidder (followed by Dish Network and Comcast), and it promises to pour $8 billion for licenses especially in suburban and rural areas across America.
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