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T-Mobile CEO John Legere accepts the award for CEO of the Year at the 2018 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

T-Mobile wants to achieve nationwide 5G service by 2020, and to get ready the so-called “Un-carrier” is lighting up low-band spectrum across the U.S. to fill in coverage gaps, specifically in rural areas.

T-Mobile announced Monday a new offering of “600 MHz Extended Range LTE” is now live in 1,254 cities in 36 states, as well as Puerto Rico. T-Mobile offers numerous phone choices that take advantage of the new low-band capacity, including top-sellers like Samsung Galaxy S9.

“Our swift deployment of 600 MHz spectrum is a game changer. While paving the way for the next generation of wireless tech, we’re bringing choice to consumers, mainly in rural areas, who’ve been forced to rely on the other guys in the past,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement. “And with 600 MHz now live across Puerto Rico, we’re helping the island position itself as a future tech leader as it continues to rebuild after last year’s hurricanes.”

Last year, T-Mobile spent nearly $8 billion in a Federal Communications Commission auction for low-band wireless spectrum licenses previously owned by broadcast networks. The buy, T-Mobile said, represented 45 percent of all available low-band spectrum in the auction, enough to cover all of the U.S. Low-band spectrum covers longer distances than other spectrum types, according to T-Mobile, allowing it to penetrate harder-to-reach areas.

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