T-MobileT-Mobile has now activated 600 MHz (Band 71) Extended Range LTE in more than 1,250 municipalities in 36 states and the island of Puerto Rico, the company announced today. T-Mobile Extended Range LTE is the brand name the company uses for deployments in the 600 MHz band.

The service expands network coverage and capacity, particularly in rural areas, while also providing the foundation for nationwide 5G in 2020 with 5G-ready equipment, according to T-Mobile.

The company deployed resources and personnel to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island nearly a year ago. As a result, Puerto Rico today enjoys 600 MHz Extended Range LTE, including some of the areas hit hardest by the hurricane, including Humacao, Utuado, Barranquitas and Naranjito, which now have more LTE coverage and capacity than before the storm.

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According to the company, T-Mobile Extended Range LTE signals travel twice as far from the tower and are four times better in buildings than mid-band LTE. T-Mobile previously deployed Extended Range LTE in the 700 MHz band in many markets, covering 80% of the U.S. population.

“Our swift deployment of 600 MHz spectrum is a game changer. While paving the way for the next generation of wireless tech, we’re bringing choice to consumers, mainly in rural areas, who’ve been forced to rely on the other guys in the past,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile chief technology officer, in a prepared statement. “And with 600 MHz now live across Puerto Rico, we’re helping the island position itself as a future tech leader as it continues to rebuild after last year’s hurricanes.”

In April 2017, T-Mobile made its largest network investment ever, tripling its low-band spectrum holdings by purchasing spectrum sold in the 600 MHz auction. Those licenses cover the entire US, including Puerto Rico. Immediately after receiving the licenses, T-Mobile began its rapid 600 MHz Extended Range LTE rollout. To accelerate the process of freeing up the spectrum for LTE, T-Mobile is working with broadcasters occupying 600 MHz spectrum to assist them in moving to new frequencies.

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