iPhone 8, iPhone X don’t support new T-Mobile LTE network that cost $8 billion

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iPhone XGetty

Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone X won’t support the extended
LTE network that T-Mobile spent $8 billion on acquiring from the
FCC earlier this year.

Both of Apple’s new iPhones lack support for the LTE band needed
to access T-Mobile’s forthcoming 600MHz network, which provides
better coverage in buildings and rural areas throughout the US.

Apple’s tech
specs
for both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X don’t show support
for the Band 71 needed to access the network, and a T-Mobile
representative confirmed
Friday in a tweet
that the 600MHz spectrum won’t be supported
by the new phones.

That’s significant news for T-Mobile customers planning to buy
one of Apple’s latest iPhones. While T-Mobile’s existing LTE
network will continue to be accessible on the new iPhones, the
devices won’t have access to the extended coverage that T-Mobile
is betting will help it compete with AT&T and Verizon in less
urban areas.

“It’s the equivalent of beachfront spectrum, the stuff that works
better in buildings and travels further from the tower,” T-Mobile
CEO John Legere said
in a video posted earlier this year
 announcing the
carrier’s blockbuster $8 billion purchase of the coveted
spectrum.

Apple wouldn’t comment on its decision not to support 600MHz in
its new phones. 

But it’s worth noting that Apple isn’t the only phone maker to
miss out on T-Mobile’s new network, which just started
rolling out in parts of the US last month
and won’t be fully
available to the entire country until 2020. No phones technically
support the 600MHz spectrum yet, although T-Mobile
has said that
phones from Samsung and LG will be supported by
the fourth quarter of 2017.

Because the capability to support 600MHz is hardware based, the
new iPhones will not be able to get support later on through a
software upgrade. 

Analysts have predicted that this year’s iPhone 8 and X models
will spark a “supercycle” of upgrades for many customers who have
neared the end of their multi-year carrier purchase agreements
for the iPhone 6 and 6s. If you’re planning on sticking with one
of this year’s iPhone models for the next couple of years,
check out T-Mobile’s own
coverage map predictions
for how its 600MHz will be
deployed in your area.

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