Eager to get its LTE ducks in a row, T-Mobile announced today that it plans to begin trials of the next-gen network this summer. But here's the kicker: despite being tardy to the high-speed party, it plans on deploying true 4G in 2013, throttling ahead to the latest and greatest version known as 3GPP Release 10 -- also known as LTE-Advanced. Hitting this mark is crucial for T-Mobile, primarily because Sprint and AT&T have already announced their intentions to jump to the same speeds next year.
T-Mobile also discussed its mysterious deployment of 1900MHz 3G service in San Francisco this week. According to Dave Mayo, SVP of technology, this is part of the carrier's 4G network evolution plan: to improve voice and data coverage and make its 4G network (we presume he's talking HSPA+ here) compatible with "a broader range of devices (including the iPhone)." He says what occurred at Moscone West this week is just the beginning -- in his words, "more of these speed sightings will occur as we work toward introducing 4G HSPA+ service in our 1900MHz spectrum in a large number of markets later this year." Overall, we'd say some great things are starting to happen in magentaland as it gets ready to hit the turbo boost button and shed the "faux-G" tag next year.
Fast Progress on 4G Network Modernization
June 14, 2012
We're making great progress in just three short months since we first announced T-Mobile's $4 billion 4G network evolution plan, including network modernization and deployment of long term evolution (LTE) service in 2013. Here are some of the highlights:
Just last month, T-Mobile announced multi-year agreements with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks to support our $4 billion 4G network evolution plan, which will include a modernization of 37,000 cell sites and a move to the latest, state-of-the-art, LTE release 10 capable equipment.
Initially, this effort will improve existing voice and data coverage, make our 4G network compatible with a broader range of devices (including the iPhone), and pave the way for long term evolution (LTE) service next year.
With contracts in place, we're making excellent headway on our network infrastructure transformation. By the end of this month we expect new equipment to be installed at our first 400 modernized GSM / HSPA+ sites and we plan to grow this to over 2,500 sites by the end of July.
We've also secured zoning approval or do not require zoning for over 19,500 sites and have completed necessary entitlement work, including obtaining building permits for over 4,000 sites.
As new equipment is in place, we're turning up some small scale tests of 4G HSPA+ service in our 1900 MHz spectrum. Some customers with unlocked iPhones recently saw evidence of those tests; clocking much faster data speeds at the Moscone West conference center in San Francisco. More of these speed sightings will occur as we work toward introducing 4G HSPA+ service in our 1900 MHz spectrum in a large number of markets later this year.
Finally, LTE trials are underway and this summer we'll begin using Release-10 equipment in these trials. The ability to launch with this next version of LTE technology is one advantage of launching next year.
We'll be sure to keep you posted on our progress along the way.