The rivalry between different cell phone providers is fierce. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and even Cricket Wireless are constantly competing to provide the best coverage at the lowest price.
T-Mobile has seriously stepped up its game—investing $8 billion dollars (yes, with a “b”) to finally put its wireless network on par with Verizon and AT&T.
Spectrum is basically a catch-all that covers the airwaves that connect your phone to whatever network you have chosen. In general, the more spectrum a carrier owns, the better its network. But some spectrum performs better and faster than others. And that’s why T-Mobile just shelled out that whopping $8 billion.
Back to those 1,500 licenses the provider has bought. Those purchased are in the 600 MHz spectrum range, which is very high-quality and relatively low-frequency. This means it can easily travel long distance and penetrate walls: both obvious characteristics for a strong cellular network. What’s the point in having a cellular carrier if you can’t even make a call across town?
How Does This Compare To Verizon and AT&T?
Well, both of those companies made massive investments in the spectrum at the 700MHz range several years ago. As a result, they’ve been able to build strong, nationwide, incredibly popular LTE networks.
T-Mobile has made it clear they’re serious about catching up and this step will go a long way toward that goal. But, the T-Mobile network won’t improve overnight, unfortunately. It could take until at least 2020 to become accessible to T-Mobile users. T-Mobile will also have to update its phones and other technologies to use the new spectrum.
But if you have T-Mobile already, sit tight—your wireless service is about to get a lot better.