T-Mobile spent $304 million to scoop up thousands of additional spectrum licenses in the latest FCC auction of frequencies to expand its 5G service to cover more people in rural and underserved areas.
While T-Mobile was far and away the biggest winner in the FCC Auction 108, this wasn't a surprise, as the frequencies covered the 2.5 GHz spectrum that the carrier has been using for its midband 5G network. Neither Verizon nor AT&T secured spectrum in the auction, according to FCC filings.
The 7,000 county-based licenses that T-Mobile acquired in the auction plug holes in its overall 5G network, providing service for 81 million people "primarily in rural areas," according to a T-Mobile press release. The carrier has been building out its 5G network for years, but its latest efforts seek to shore up service in more remote areas without much coverage. Last month, T-Mobile announced a partnership with SpaceX to use Starlink satellites to cover signal dead zones.