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T-Mobile Tweets Deets on New 600 MHz Coverage Expansion

By Steve Harvey. T-Mobile CTO's tweet details new cities covered in 600 MHz expansion; regional audio pros must stop using any RF mic and IEM systems that operate in that range.

Bellevue, WA (March 27, 2018)—In a March 21 tweet, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray revealed new details to the company’s ongoing 600 MHz expansion, adding to the growing list of cities now covered by the carrier’s low-band LTE service in the 600 MHz band. All audio pros in those regions using pro-audio wireless microphones and IEMs that operate in the 600 MHz range must stop using the systems or risk considerable fines from the FCC.

The announcement adds more than 180 cities in 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, to the rapidly growing list of cities with T-Mobile service in what is known as Band 71. The carrier won 31 MHz of the 600 MHz spectrum licenses in the FCC’s Incentive Auction in 2017 and has been rapidly building out its 600 MHz Extended Range LTE capacity on cell towers nationwide ever since.

Ray’s tweet comes hard on the heels of an announcement at the recent World Mobile Conference (WMC) in Spain that the carrier had added 600 MHz coverage in 90 more cities in 26 states. T-Mobile also announced during the WMC that it was adding services in 30 major cities, without stipulating whether that coverage would be in the low, mid or high bands. This latest news adds some specificity.

T-Mobile’s latest announcement is great news for its customers but not so good for users of wireless audio equipment operating in the 600 MHz band. Licensed and unlicensed wireless audio equipment operators must vacate frequency spectrum in the 600 MHz band as soon as any of the new licensees who acquired bandwidth in the auction announce an intention to begin using it, whether for testing or full-time services. Failure to do so may result in a hefty fine.

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It had initially been widely assumed that T-Mobile’s build-out would follow the FCC’s 10-phase TV spectrum repack schedule, which is due to be completed by mid-2020. But the carrier moved quickly to add 600 MHz services in areas where no repack was necessary and is partnering with broadcasters to help them relocate out of the 600 MHz band ahead of schedule. A partnership with FOX Stations, for instance, accelerates the relocation of WWOR-TV in New Jersey by 16 months, affecting anyone operating audio gear in New York City in the 600 MHz band much sooner than previously expected.

The latest list provided by Ray in his tweeted GIF includes the following cities, by state:

Alabama: Pelham, Birmingham, Hazel Green, Huntsville, Millbrook, Cusseta, Phenix City

Arizona: Phoenix, Glendale, Avondale, Tucson, Flagstaff, Williams, Camp Verde, Dewey

Arkansas: Jacksonville, North Little Rock, Searcy, Little Rock, Rogers

California: Los Angeles, Pomona, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Cardiff By the Sea, Blythe, Twin Peaks, Orange, Bakersfield, Livermore, Merced, Turlock, Red Bluff

Colorado: Aurora, Denver, Fort Lupton, Colorado Springs

Connecticut: Harwinton

District of Columbia: Washington

Florida: Jacksonville, Pensacola, Pompano Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Kissimmee

Georgia: Swainsboro, Thomson, Savannah, Thomasville, Tifton

Hawaii: Waianae, Honolulu

Idaho: Twin Falls, Swan Valley, Boise

Illinois: Arlington Heights, Crystal Lake, Skokie, Calumet City, Harvey, Joliet, Bristol, Chicago, Des Plaines, Palos Heights

Indiana: Gary

Kansas: Kansas City, Buffalo

Kentucky: Lexington, Bowling Green

Louisiana: Meraux, New Orleans, Pearl River, Bossier City

Maine: Biddeford, Kennebunkport, Saco, Buxton, Augusta, Bangor, Hampden, Waterville

Massachusetts: Littleton, Douglas, Middleboro

Maryland: Bethesda, Owings Mills, Brooklyn

Michigan: Clarkston, Burton, Haslett

Minnesota: Circle Pines, Hastings, Owatonna, Silver Lake, Wayzata, Mankato

Missouri: Williamsburg, Kansas City

Montana: Belgrade, Manhattan

Nevada: Las Vegas

New Jersey: Paramus, Belle Mead, Monmouth Junction

New Mexico: Santa Fe, Artesia, Des Moines

New York: Yonkers, Jamaica, Westbury, Mount Sinai, Plattsburgh, Hastings, Buffalo, Niagara Falls

North Carolina: Wilmington, Jacksonville

Ohio: Bridgeport, Hamilton

Oklahoma: Fort Cobb, Randlett, Walters, Erick, Aline, Alva, Cherokee, Jet, Woodward, McAlester, Calvin, Wardville

Oregon: White City, Milton Freewater, Union

Pennsylvania: Oakdale, Northern Cambria, Bellefonte, Boalsburg, Snow Shoe, Mifflintown, East Earl, Chester, Philadelphia

South Carolina: Columbia, Charleston, Loris

Tennessee: Nashville

Texas: Garland, Longview, Jasper, Wichita Falls, Sterling City, Houston, Spring, La Marque, Jourdanton, San Antonio, Donna, Plainview, Shallowater, Lubbock, Balmorhea, El Paso

Utah: Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Logan, Hurricane

Virginia: Manassas, Centreville, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Petersburg, Blacksburg

Washington: Duvall, Seattle, Clinton, Ryderwood, Quincy, Cle Elum, Thorp, Sprague, Wilbur, Spokane, Pasco

West Virginia: Berwind, Wheeling, Upper Tract

Wyoming: Torrington

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