T-Mobile and CBS Television Stations have already wrapped the repack of WLNY-TV’s 600 MHz spectrum on portions of Long Island and the surrounding area that extends into Brooklyn and Queens.
Working together, the companies have beat the FCC’s August 2019 repack deadline by more than a year. T-Mobile can now get to work on deploying LTE and 5G network services in the area. T-Mobile expects to turn on those wireless services in early 2019.
“Partnering with WLNY allows us to clear spectrum and bring 600 MHz LTE to customers in New York City as quickly as possible,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer at T-Mobile, in a statement. “The T-Mobile team is deploying 600 MHz LTE across the country at record pace and we’re laying the foundation for 5G in NYC by deploying 600 MHz with 5G-ready gear.”
“We are happy to report the move of WLNY 10/55 to its new frequency was seamless,” said Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations, in a statement. “It was a pleasure to partner with our friends at T-Mobile and be ahead of the curve in terms of serving our viewers.”
T-Mobile’s deal with CBS to accelerate the spectrum repack process is one of several similar deals the company set over the past year. Last year, T-Mobile announced a deal with Fox Television Stations to get WWOR-TV in New York City repacked by early 2018 so it could deploy services on its spectrum by early 2019.
Earlier this year, T-Mobile partnered with NBC 5 / KXAS-TV in North Texas for repack collaboration with similar timelines for clearing and deploying wireless services.
T-Mobile is also working with PBS to speed up the repack for its public television stations.
In addition to sticking to the deadline set by the FCC, broadcasters are having to work on the repack with the FCC’s limited funding in place. In April, the FCC allocated an additional $742 million in funds for broadcasters and MVPDs eligible for reimbursement, giving companies access to $1.74 billion or 92.5% of the currently verified cost estimates. As of March 7, 2018, the total amount of verified cost estimates had risen to $1.95 billion. By July, the estimate had risen to $2.1 billion.