Why is this important?
T-Mobile is aggressively rolling out Band 71 across the country and it is now an important component of T-Mobile's network and coverage map.
If you rely on T-Mobile, we recommend you make sure that your devices are Band 71 compatible or you will be missing out on some vastly improved coverage - especially indoors and in rural areas.
T-Mobile didn't offer a mobile hotspot that supported this critical spectrum until now.
Video edition of this story:
T-Mobile's hotspots have, unfortunately, historically lacked the robust features sets available from flagship devices from AT&T and Verizon.
Regardless, it's great to finally have Band 71 coverage on a mobile hotspot and this is an important milestone for T-Mobile as they expand their coverage map and prepare for 5G.
T-Mobile's Data-Only Plans
That means the only option is a tiered data plan, which is available in high-speed buckets from 2GB - 22GB (followed by unlimited 2G data). Pretty underwhelming, but it can work as a backup.
Additionally, the SyncUp Drive cannot be used outside a vehicle's OBD-II port.
Hopefully, T-Mobile will pull an "uncarrier" move this year and bring out some better data-only options. Still, it's great to see T-Mobile finally offer a mobile hotspot that supports all their LTE spectrum.
Getting A Coolpad Surf
Like all new devices, the Coolpad Surf will only initially be available from T-Mobile directly. Over time, however, the hotspot will likely be available from third-party resellers.
Those with existing devices, including those on grandfathered Simple Choice plans, should be able to upgrade from the Alcatel Linkzone or the ZTE-917 hotspots. At only $72, it's a nice upgrade to take advantage of T-Mobiles expanding coverage map.