Dish lets T-Mobile tap its 600 MHz spectrum in response to COVID-19

Dish Network announced that it is providing its entire portfolio of 600 MHz spectrum to T-Mobile at no cost for 60 days in order to bolster wireless capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. A Dish spokesperson said the additional spectrum would help T-Mobile add extra capacity in its existing footprint.

And she added that Dish has 600 MHz spectrum in every partial economic area (PEA) in the United States. PEAs are areas that the FCC has designated to handle its spectrum auctions.

Ookla analyst Milan Milanovic said in order for T-Mobile to quickly tap this spectrum, “It would only require over-the-air reconfiguration, which would widen the existing 600 MHz channels in T-Mobile's network. This could be done late nights. This is assuming that Dish's spectrum licenses have been cleared.”

Ookla prepared a map in August 2019 as part of a blog, showing Dish's and T-Mobile's 600 MHz spectrum (See map below).

Ookla map

“Dish is proud to support Americans’ personal and professional connectivity needs during this challenging time,” said Jeff Blum, Dish SVP of public policy and government affairs, in a statement today. “As we take this step, we’d like to thank the FCC for their leadership on the technological needs arising as a result of the virus, including the increased need for broadband access to help consumers respond to the impact of COVID-19 on daily life.”

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Earlier today, T-Mobile announced that it was providing all current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile data customers with unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming). The carrier said, “The vast majority of customers on T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile plans already have unlimited talk, text and data, and our T-Mobile Home Internet customers already have unlimited plans with no data caps or surcharges. But in these unique circumstances, access to unlimited data is more important than ever.”

In addition, T-Mobile is working to soon provide these customers with an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot service for the next 60 days. And T-Mobile also said it was working with its Lifeline partners to provide customers extra free data up to 5GB of data per month over the next two months.