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FCC Grants T-Mobile Temporary Use of Additional Radio Spectrum

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Mar 15, 2020, 5:36 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

As the US deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and more workers and students operate from home, data networks are being pushed to the limit. To address this demand, T-Mobile has requested that the government temporarily let it use radio frequency bands that are sitting unused even though the company does not own licenses to those specific radio frequencies. On Sunday, the FCC granted Special Temporary Authority to T-Mobile to do just that. The relevant spectrum is in the 600 MHz band (AKA band 71). For licensing purposes, this band is divided into smaller sub-bands as well many small geographic regions. T-Mobile owns many of these licenses, but not all. Comcast, Dish, and other companies own some of the other licenses, and some that were never claimed at auction are held by the FCC. Those licenses that are sitting unused can be now be used by T-Mobile for the next 60 days to increase its network capacity. T-Mobile's existing network equipment as well as phones with band 71 can be configured to use the new spectrum relatively quickly.

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