Happy birthday, T-Mobile LTE! It's been exactly one year since the UnCarrier launched its next-gen network, and it's taking advantage of the occasion by announcing further expansion. T-Mobile plans to flip the LTE switch in every market that currently has a 2G/EDGE connection -- in other words, everywhere else on the coverage map that isn't enjoying fast data right now. While the massive expansion is scheduled to be "substantially" complete by the middle of next year, many customers will notice a change before then, as 50 percent of the expansion is expected to take place by the end of 2014.
At first blush, this sounds like a rather lofty goal for T-Mobile -- its current LTE deployment is nothing to laugh at, but the fast speeds often go away as soon as you leave metro areas. A nationwide rollout of this magnitude over a period of just 15 months is rather impressive for the fourth-largest operator in the US. At least part of this rollout will involve the minty-fresh 700MHz A-Block spectrum T-Mobile just acquired from Verizon back in January; since lower frequencies have a broader range of coverage, it's now much easier for T-Mobile to deploy LTE to the masses without incurring massive costs in the process. For anyone concerned, this expansion doesn't mean that EDGE will go away entirely (not yet, anyway), because there are still plenty of devices that rely on 2G technology. But for those of you who have an LTE smartphone or tablet, you'll soon be able to enjoy faster speeds even outside the city limits.