As innovative as the '#uncarrier' T-Mobile has been, it remains faced with one challenge that no amount of clever marketing and promotions can solve.
T-Mobile just doesn't own enough low-frequency bandwidth, especially compared to AT&T and Verizon.
It is the nature of radio signal propagation at work - lower frequency signals travel further, and are better able to penetrate obstacles along the way like walls and trees.
This makes low-frequency spectrum exceedingly valuable to cellular companies - it is absolutely essential to covering sparse rural areas in particular, as well as for penetrating into the interiors of buildings.
This also obviously makes low-frequency spectrum of critical interest to RVers - we tend to go places off the beaten path and away from cell towers. T-Mobile may rock the house in urban areas, but drive a bit outside of many towns and the T-Mobile signal fades away fast.
More low frequency spectrum is the only fix - but there is only so much low frequency spectrum available. And unfortunately for T-Mobile, what little that exists is dominated by the big two (Verizon and AT&T) - at least for now.
No amount of additional cell towers can make up for the severe handicap imposed by the cruel laws of physics.
For now, Verizon and AT&T have an advantage that T-Mobile just can not equal, no matter how much it spends on building out new towers.
But things are starting to change - and T-Mobile is making a big bet on a little thing known as LTE Band 12 to at last take on the big boys on more equal footing.
How we got into this situation makes for a fascinating story, with some very interesting implications for the future.
And whatever you do - do not buy a new T-Mobile phone, tablet, or hotspot until you understand the implications.
- Frequency? Spectrum? Bandwidth?
- Bulldozing Away UHF TV
- Bad Neighbors Spoil the A Block
- T-Mobile's Band 12 Bet
- The Future: A 600MHz Bonanza?
- High Frequency Hyper-Drive
- Band 12 Tomorrow, But What About Today?
- Concluding Thoughts
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