T-Mobile is spending billions to roll out a new 600MHz network, which should finally close the coverage gap between T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. That’s not new — the first 600MHz sites are already live — but if you walk into a T-Mobile store right now, you can’t buy a phone that will work on 600MHz.
That’s all changing next month. The LG V30, T-Mobile’s first 600MHz-capable phone and the most important device for the network in years, will be available for pre-order on October 5th, and lands in stores October 13th.
The LG V30 costs $800 unlocked, but as ever, networks are offering it on installment plans and leases. T-Mobile is charging $80 down and $30 a month on a 24-month Equipment Installment Plan, which is the same kind of deal you’d get on AT&T or Verizon.
But what exactly 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.
If you’re a T-Mobile customer that’s on the fence about which phone to buy — and you plan on keeping the device for more than a year — the LG V30 is a no-brainer. It’s a great phone in its own right, and the addition of Band 71 support makes it the only realistic choice. Sure, the Galaxy Note 8 is a stellar phone, but that won’t be much use next year when you still can’t get an LTE signal on it, but your buddy with a V30 can.
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, although that likely won’t be a flagship device. If you can hold on until next year, expect every flagship device starting with the Galaxy S9 to support B71.