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T-Mobile touts improved LTE coverage across 36 states, Puerto Rico

The carrier says its 600 MHz Extended Range LTE network also lays the foundation for nationwide 5G coverage in 2020.

Portable device photo illustrations

T-Mobile's improved LTE coverage is available today. 

NurPhoto/Getty Images

You may get better coverage and internet speed on T-Mobile thanks to the carrier's new Extended Range LTE service, a first step in the carrier's efforts to roll out next-generation 5G networks.

T-Mobile's 600 MHz Extended Range LTE service is now live in 1,254 cities and towns in 36 US states and Puerto Rico. The 600 MHz network has better coverage, capacity and internet speed than T-Mobile's regular LTE service, the carrier said Monday.

600 MHz LTE signals travel twice as far from cellular towers as the regular LTE service, T-Mobile said, and it performs four times better in buildings than midband LTE. The carrier offers 14 smartphones that can use the spectrum, and more will be added. If your phone model is one of the 14, it will automatically adapt to the 600 MHz LTE network, according to a T-Mobile spokesperson.

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The new 600 MHz LTE network lays the foundation for nationwide 5G coverage in 2020 with "5G ready equipment," T-Mobile said.

On Tuesday, T-Mobile took another step toward 5G. It signed a $3.5 billion, multiyear agreement with Swedish telecom gear supplier Ericsson to support its 5G network deployment.

In February, the carrier said it will deploy 5G networks to 30 cities, including New York and Los Angeles, sometime this year even though 5G-capable smartphones won't hit the market until 2019. CEO John Legere said in August that T-Mobile is committed to make 5G available "everywhere." The company expects the service to improve average speeds by up to 15 times by 2024.

T-Mobile isn't the only tech giant aiming to deploy a 5G network. Verizon plans to launch its mobile 5G network next year, while Sprint has tagged LG to make the first 5G smartphone in the US. AT&T plans to launch the first mobile 5G network by the end of 2018.

Enlisting Ericsson: T-Mobile bolster 5G ambitions with $3.5 billion supplier deal.

The competition: AT&T says 5G network coming to Houston in 2018, LA and San Francisco in 2019.

First published Sept. 10 at 12:02 p.m. PT.
Updated Sept. 11 at 7:41 a.m. PT:  Added information about T-Mobile's deal with Ericsson.