LG's V30 to be first phone to support T-Mobile's 600 MHz spectrum

LG introduced the latest version of its flagship phone today.

The LG V30 will be the first to support T-Mobile’s new MHz spectrum.

The No. 3 carrier in the U.S. launched service on the spectrum two weeks ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming, making good on a vow to begin to its new licenses this summer. T-Mobile was the top bidder in the 600 MHz incentive auction that ended in April, agreeing to pony up nearly $8 billion for the low-band airwaves.

The operator plans to use the spectrum to increase its presence in rural and suburban markets after focusing primarily on urban markets in the last few years. T-Mobile said this morning it has added a second 600 MHz location, launching service in Scarborough, Maine.

The LG V30, which was introduced this morning, is the South Korean manufacturer’s latest flagship. The phone sports a 6-inch HD OLED screen and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. T-Mobile didn’t disclose a launch date or pricing details, but Pocket-lint reported preorders are expected to begin in the United States September 17.

The phone will be the world’s first to support LTE using 600 MHz spectrum, according to T-Mobile. The carrier also said it is working with Ericsson to develop equipment that can support both 5G and LTE.

“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 said in a press release. “While the carriers try to fake their way to 5G and back off unlimited to keep their networks from caving even more, the un-carrier’s building the future of wireless and a bigger, better, faster, future-proof network.”

T-Mobile has drawn flak from some critics who question why the market hasn't already been seeded with handsets equipped to access 600 MHz, but at least one analyst said the network had to be close to operational before manufacturers would support it.

"Device makers don't relish adding SKUs for LTE bands that do not service large-scale population," tweeted Ken Rehbehn, a wireless analyst at critical communications insights. "Network needs to be in place first."

T-Mobile has promised to roll out 600 MHz at a “record-shattering pace” starting in rural markets where the airwaves have been cleared by the TV broadcasters that once controlled that spectrum, “compressing what would normally be a two-year process from auction to consumer availability” in 6 months. The carrier said in June it would cover the costs for rural public TV low-power facilities to relocate to new frequencies, and it worked with the 3GPP to help hammer out specifications for the airwaves in May.

But while T-Mobile is moving far more quickly than its rivals to launch service on 600 MHz spectrum, it may face a serious speed bump as that effort continues. The FCC is sticking with its 39-month repacking plan to move TV broadcasters off the airwaves to make them available for wireless use, but Robert Gutman of Guggenheim Equity Research wrote recently that a lack of qualified crews could double that timeframe.