Your next phone will probably support a T-Mobile’s push for better coverage in the U.S.
A lot of T-Mobile customers were upset that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 didn’t support T-Mobile’s burgeoning low-band 600MHz network; many of those same people wondered why Apple’s iPhone 8 and upcoming iPhone X lack the same capabilities.
In fact, the LG V30 is the only phone to support T-Mobile’s new network, which pushes LTE signals further and penetrates walls better than even the widely-used 700MHz spectrum used by three of the big four carriers in the U.S. today.
That’s all about to change. Qualcomm is releasing a number of components to phone manufacturers as part of its RF Front-End portfolio that include support for Band 71, which comprises the 600MHz band. These parts, which include a Low-Band Power Amplifier Module, an Adaptive Aperture Tuner, along with Duplexer and Diversity Receive (DRX) Filter, work with the baseband inside any number of Snapdragon chips from the 200, 400, 600, and 800 series to support Band 71.
So how did LG get support for it so early? A Qualcomm rep I spoke to wouldn’t speculate, but said that it’s likely using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom components to make it happen. Starting in early 2018, most phones released in the U.S. will support Band 71, since manufacturers are more inclined to add something when they don’t have to work too hard to achieve it.
While T-Mobile owns nearly half of the 600MHz spectrum in the U.S., Band 71 will also be used in the IoT and enterprise fields to enhance long-range LTE communications.
Earlier this year, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that two products, one by LG and another from Samsung, would support its 600MHz network by year’s end. That Samsung device has yet to materialize. Legere also said that the network would roll out to rural parts of the U.S. not currently served by its existing LTE network.