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T-Mobile appears to be on track to light up large swaths of the western United States with its newly won 600 MHz spectrum later this year.

In an ex part filing with the FCC, T-Mobile noted that keeping the spectrum transition on schedule will help it expand wireless broadband across the nation, particularly in the “hundreds of thousands of square miles of rural and remote portions of the country where residents may have never had wireless broadband connections or where competition is limited.”

Judging from projected coverage maps the Un-carrier submitted with the filing, it seems much of the uncharted territory it plans to light up in 2017 is west of the Mississippi. Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska will see some of the largest gaps filled, if T-Mobile holds to the plans outlined on the map.

Credit: T-Mobile via FCC filing

T-Mobile has previously disclosed its plan to deploy at least 10 MHz of 600 MHz spectrum across an area covering more than 1 million square miles by the close of this year. The Un-carrier in June noted testing on the band would begin this summer, and CTO Neville Ray in July said initial 600 MHz site launches could begin as early as August.

But in its ex parte filing, T-Mobile stressed to the FCC that maintaining a swift repacking transition is key to it staying on schedule with 600 MHz deployments. Funding issues and the development of ATSC 3.0 should not be allowed to have an impact on the timing of the repack, the carrier said.

“Keeping the 600 MHz relocation on schedule offers one of the most promising means available to accelerate and expand wireless broadband deployment in the United States,” T-Mobile wrote in the filing. “Quickly approving cost estimates and rapidly dispersing the money necessary to help fund broadcast relocation will complement the wireless operators’ massive investments in deploying the 600 MHz spectrum as quickly as possible.”

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