FCC Voluntary Incentive Auction - Band 71
T-Mobile spent $8B in the FCC’s Voluntary Incentive Auction of Broadcast spectrum for 31 MHz of spectrum in the 600 MHz band. This spectrum, finalized when the reverse auction completed in January 2017, was included in spectrum Band 71.
T-Mobile has now started deploying 600 MHz spectrum in two markets: Cheyenne, WY and Scarborough, ME. Their goal for the 600 MHz spectrum is to improve coverage in both suburban and rural markets, which is critical to gaining market share from AT&T and VZ. We know it will take time for broadcasters to vacate and the FCC to repack much of this spectrum. T-Mobile has been offering incentives to some broadcasters to move early.
Next week on September 12th Apple will announce their next iPhone. Will Band 71 be included in this iPhone release?
It doesn’t seem highly probable, given the fact that Band 71 was finalized in January, 2017. The more likely scenario would be Band 71 in another iPhone release in 2018 or beyond. T-Mobile will also be working with other handset equipment manufacturers to have Android based phones ready for Band 71 as soon as possible. They were successful in driving development of the 700 MHz A-Block (Band 12) ecosystem. Expect a repeat performance with Band 71.