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T-Mobile to turn on FM radio chip in future smartphones

John J. Legere, president and chief executive officer, T-Mobile

The details are sketchy, but the tweet is unequivocal. T-Mobile will #sayyestoFMchip and will push its cell phone suppliers to turn on the mobile phone’s built in capability to receive over-the-air FM radio stations.

Legere’s tweet comes less than a month after AT&T agreed to specify that the FM radio chip be activated in Android phones manufactured in 2016 and beyond.

The coupe for the radio industry was touted by widely by NextRadio and TagStation, the Emmis Communications-owned entities that promote an FM listening app and station support infrastructure.

T-Mobile is the third major carrier to back the FM chip. In 2013, Sprint agreed to enable its customers to listen to local FM radio stations from a broad spectrum of radio companies and aggregators on select Android and Windows smartphones. The FM radio capability is delivered through the NextRadio tuner application or other radio apps or services.

Jeff Smuylan, chairman, CEO, and founder of Emmis Communications has been a long-time champion of the FM chip in mobile phones.