Very early this morning, a bunch of LG execs standing in Barcelona unveiled the LG V30 to the world’s assembled press (or those who were awake, at least). On paper and in person, it has potential to be the best Android phone launched this year, and it’s certainly going to go toe-to-toe with Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 for the heavyweight phablet belt.
But forget all the who-has-the-biggest-camera-lens braggarding for a second, because the LG V30 has one feature that no phone ever launched before does: compatibility with T-Mobile’s new 600MHz network.
The network has confirmed that the LG V30’s Qualcomm X16 modem is compatible with LTE Band 71, which is a complicated way of saying that the phone works on T-Mobile’s new 600MHz network.
What is T-Mobile’s new network, and why should you care? Simple: earlier this year, T-Mobile spent $8 billion on spectrum licenses for the 600MHz band covering the entire country. 600MHz is low-band spectrum, which means it’s particularly good for coverage in rural areas and inside buildings.
Historically, a big part of the advantage in coverage enjoyed by Verizon and AT&T has been down to its low-band spectrum. Verizon in particular is famous for having great coverage in the middle of nowhere, and a good part of that is down to its low-band signal travelling further than T-Mobile’s mid-band signal.
T-Mobile is working hard (and spending serious money!) to nullify that advantage. It plans to have a million square miles of the country covered by its new 600MHz LTE network by the end of the year, and the first two locations (in Wymoing and Maine) are already up and running.
That brings us back to the LG V30, and why it should be at the top of the wish list for every T-Mobile customer today. In order to take advantage of this brand-new network, T-Mobile customers will need a band 71-compatible device, and right now, that means the LG V30.
More devices are definitely coming. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray has told BGR that a B71-compatible Samsung device will launch by the end of the year, and I’d also be surprised if the iPhone 8 comes without support for band 71.
But today is a real milestone for T-Mobile. Its 600MHz network is online, and anyone who a) lives in Wyoming or Maine, and b) wants a brand-new Android phone can start enjoying the network right now.