Two weeks after T-Mobile began lighting up its first 600 MHz sites in Wyoming, the Un-carrier on Thursday announced the first handset that will actually be capable of supporting those new airwaves: LG’s V30.
Unveiled at IFA2017 in Berlin, the new V30 smartphone is packed with high-end device features, including a 6-inch OLED display, Android Nougat running on a Snapdragon 835 processor, a dual rear camera setup with a 16 mp standard angle lens and a 13 mp wide angle lends, a 5 mp selfie camera, and 64 or 128 GB of storage expandable to up to 2 TB. The device comes with boosted video capabilities via a new Cine Video mode that offers cinematic effects, and comes loaded with Google Assistant and voice recognition capabilities that allow users to interact with other smart LG products like washing machines, refrigerators, and robot vacuums.
LG indicated the V30 will first be launched in South Korea in late September, with availability in North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to follow.
Though most major U.S. carriers have announced plans to offer the device, the phone’s debut is particularly significant for T-Mobile.
The launch comes as the Un-carrier presses toward its goal of blanketing more than 1 million square miles with new 600 MHz coverage by the end of this year. Earlier this month, T-Mobile lit up the first of its 600 MHz sites in Cheyenne, Wyoming. On Thursday, T-Mobile revealed Scarborough, Maine, is the latest locale to get 600 MHz coverage.
“We’re lighting up our new super spectrum for LTE and laying the foundation for 5G so fast we’re making the other guys’ heads spin – and with the LG V30, everything is coming together in record time,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere commented.
The V30 is the first of two 600 MHz-capable handsets T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said will be released this year. A device from Samsung is also forthcoming, though the company’s flagship Galaxy Note 8 recently launched without 600 MHz support. Ray said in July he couldn’t comment on Apple’s plans regarding 600 MHz compatibility in the upcoming iPhone, but noted T-Mobile is in contact with the company and “pushing very hard” to make sure the band is included.
5G at the “flip of a switch”
T-Mobile reiterated plans are in place to bring 600 MHz coverage to parts of Wyoming, Northeast and Southwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, Western North Dakota, additional areas of Maine, Coastal North Carolina, Central Pennsylvania, Central Virginia and Eastern Washington by the end of 2017. Ray on Thursday noted the 600 MHz rollout is also laying the foundation for the Un-carrier’s future 5G deployments since the Ericsson equipment it’s using supports both LTE and 5G applications.
“When it’s time to launch 5G technology for consumers, the Un-carrier can upgrade this already-deployed 5G-ready equipment via software update, effectively turning on 5G on 600 MHz with the flip of a switch without having to touch towers twice,” T-Mobile reported in its press release.
Back in May, the Un-carrier set a 2020 target for a nationwide mobile 5G network launch. At the time, Legere said T-Mobile plans to utilize all of its spectrum holdings for 5G, including its 600 MHz, mid-band, 28 GHz, and 39 GHz airwaves.
“There’s no such thing as 5G spectrum. It’s just spectrum and 5G will work on all of it,” Legere commented at the time.
More on T-Mobile’s 5G plans here.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)