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FCC Lets T-Mobile Boost Network With More Airwaves Amid Covid-19

March 16, 2020, 2:18 PM

The Federal Communications Commission is letting T-Mobile US Inc. use additional airwaves to help meet surging network traffic as millions of Americans work and study from home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“This temporary authority will help T-Mobile better serve customers who, like all of us, are making significant adjustments to their daily lives to minimize in-person interactions and slow the spread of COVID-19,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Sunday.

The FCC action came two days after dozens of telecom providers, including T-Mobile, agreed to continue service to customers who have trouble paying bills as a result of Covid-19, as the disease caused by the virus is known.

T-Mobile requested special access to the airwaves, in the 600 MHz band, to support telehealth, distance learning, telework, and first responders.

Companies that hold spectrum licenses on the frequencies, including Dish Network Corp., all agreed to let T-Mobile access the airwaves, Pai said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Reid in Washington at jreid@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Melissa B. Robinson at mrobinson@bloomberglaw.com, Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com