T-Mobile seeks to continue borrowing unused 600MHz spectrum from the FCC
This additional 600MHz spectrum that T-Mobile has permission to use covers the carrier’s customers in Los Angeles; San Diego; Tucson, Arizona; and Bellingham, Washington. 600MHz is also important for T-Mobile along the U.S.-Mexico border. That’s because the 700MHz airwaves in that area are hit with interference from Mexico’s use of that frequency.
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The 600MHz low-band spectrum makes up T-Mobile’s 5G Extended Range service which delivers download data speeds twice as fast as Extended Range LTE. The 5G Ultra Capacity service uses the 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum that T-Mobile picked up with its $26 billion acquisition of Sprint.
The characteristics of low-band spectrum include the ability to travel longer distances than mid-band and high-band signals, and the ability to penetrate structures better. But there is a caveat and it is an important one. The download data speeds coming from low-band airwaves are slower than those coming from mid-band and high-band signals.