Although I’ve used T-Mobile happily for years, I was very much looking forward to their implementation of 700 Mhz Band 12. This new frequency was supposed to give much better building penetration for T-Mobile’s high-speed LTE network, which not only would have meant better reception, but also potential improvements in battery life (for the phones that have Band 12 support), since the phone’s radios don’t have to work nearly as hard to obtain and keep reception.
As an Android user, I’m also a big fan of the Nexus line of phones – when I heard yesterday that the new Nexus 6P had been approved for Band 12 support, that just ticked another box on “Things to Like About the 6P” (already a very long list). This is one of the first phones (and definitely the first Nexus phone) to support this newer band. I was happy, that is, until I looked at this map of T-Mobile Band 12 rollouts and availability:
The big red circle completely encircling Louisville (and Elizabethtown, about 45 minutes to the south, and almost Lexington, about an hour to the east) basically means that a TV channel (station 51) is already using some of the spectrum around the 700 Mhz band, and so T-Mobile’s 700 Mhz Band 12 can’t be used in that area.
The good news is that this TV station should move – eventually. There is an auction for the 600 Mhz band scheduled for early 2016 – after that, each station will have the option to either share a frequency with another channel, find a clear frequency, or cease operating entirely. While the first and last option (share a channel and leave the business) must be done within 3 months of the end of the auction, if the station wants to find a clear frequency, they will have to work with the FCC to find a channel and formulate a strategy – a process with can take between 6 and 39 months.
More information (such as a timeline of current LTE rollouts) and additional maps are available over at SpectrumGateway.com