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T-Mobile US (TMUS) Gears Up for 5G With 600-MHz LTE Sites

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National provider of mobile communications services, T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS - Free Report) has been a pioneer in innovative network expansion methodologies. Such initiatives have helped the carrier lure 1.333 million subscribers in the last reported second quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, by virtue of its continuous 4G LTE network improvement and expansion, T-Mobile US has already started deploying 600-MHz low-band spectrum on its 4G LTE network (from mid August). The company claims to be the world’s first to launch 4G in 600-MHz band and its first deployment site is Cheyenne, WY.

T-Mobile US announced the availability of a handset, LG V30, which will support the company’s 600-MHz LTE network. The latest location to go live with its new super spectrum is Scarborough, ME. The LG V30 will be the world’s first smartphone to support LTE on 600-MHz as well as other spectrum bands available from T-Mobile US. The company’s marketing campaign plans to launch LG’s latest flagship nationwide this fall.

Update on 600-MHz LTE Deployment

T-Mobile US has started the deployment in rural and suburban markets although it has been focused on urban markets in the last few years. By the end of this year, T-Mobile US plans to launch 600-MHz LTE network in Wyoming, Northeast and Southwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, Western North Dakota, additional areas of Maine, Coastal North Carolina, Central Pennsylvania, Central Virginia and Eastern Washington. This should increase the company’s total LTE coverage from 315 million customers to 321 million by year’s end.

Going forward, T-Mobile US is planning to complete the roll out of the spectrum within six months. Also, the company has agreed to invest in broadcast equipment manufacturing capacity, installation resources, help for low-power TV stations and support for TV translator licenses to finish the deployment as soon as possible.

T-Mobile US is working closely with the U.S. telecom regulator, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and broadcasters like Public Broadcasting Service to complete the spectrum deployment on time. T-Mobile US is also working closely with network infrastructure partners, chipset makers and device manufacturers. In addition to LG, the company is also working with Samsung to launch phones that supports the spectrum. Nokia Corporation (NOK - Free Report) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM - Free Report) have launched new technology, that are compatible with the new spectrum band.

In addition to expanding and strengthening its LTE network with 600-MHz spectrum, T-Mobile US announced plans for a nationwide 5G network on this super-premium low-band spectrum. By deploying Ericsson’s (ERIC - Free Report) new radio equipment, the Un-carrier is making 600-MHz LTE available while building a seamless path to 5G on 600 MHz.

Notably, low-band spectrum is essential for wireless operators as the signals can be transmitted over longer distances and through brick-and-mortar walls in cities.

T-Mobile US has doubled its LTE coverage since 2015 and its newly acquired premium low band wireless spectrum (from FCC’s Incentive Auction in April 2017) will further broaden its LTE footprint.  Furthermore, the company acquired the largest portion (nearly 45%) of the available spectrums by offering a sum of nearly $8 billion. It won 1,525 licenses and bought around 31 MHz of spectrums in the 600-MHz low-band frequencies.

Apart from upgrading and innovating its new super spectrum for LTE, T-Mobile US is also laying the foundation for the country’s first nationwide 5G network.

Currently, it is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Price Performance

The company's price performance has been impressive. Over the past six months, shares of T-Mobile US have inched up 1.5% as against the industry’s decline of 7.0%.

However, when compared with the market at large, the stock’s performance looks miserable as the S&P 500 Index has rallied 3.5% over the same time span. 

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