Earlier this month, about $8 billion was spent up by T-Mobile spent to purchase 45% of the available 600MHz spectrum during an auction for the available spectrum. T-Mobile has since been tight-lipped over how the company would utilize these new airwaves to improve its network speed. However, the company has recently suggest in a recent earnings call that the first 600MHz-based networks would be used for in some areas later this year.
Because old TV channels are going under, which need 3 years to complete, so the 600MHz airwaves will be prioritized for this. That means T-Mobile won’t be able to deploy these new radios in urban areas soon, but in rural areas, such as the mid-West, the airwaves will be largely free and T-Mobile can get a chance to have a leg up in its competition by taking advantage of these new airwaves.
However, it should mention that 600MHz won’t be compatible with any of the existing devices as it requires a different physical antenna. Saying in other words, your device’s modem has to support at the hardware level so that it can access 600MHz waves, which is impossible for almost of the current devices available in the market. But T-Mobile has already started working with hardware partners for the 600MHz support. Yesterday, according to a speech of a Qualcomm spokesman, Qualcomm will add 600MHz support in the X16 modem, which is found in the Snapdragon 835 chip. However, he did not say which OEMs and devices would have chance to get this the new modem.
As this is a hardware change, this indicates that the current Snapdragon 835 SoC found in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, will not support 600MHz. Nevertheless, other flagship devices coming later this year with the Snapdragon 835 SoC such as the rumored Nokia 8, Sony XZ premium, might work on 600 MHz networks out of the box.