Light Reading
One year into its LTE deployment, T-Mobile is planning to repurpose its 2G EDGE network to 4G and take on Verizon's claims that its footprint doesn't measure up.

T-Mobile Repurposes 2G to Get an LTE Edge

Sarah Thomas
3/13/2014
50%
50%

T-Mobile is celebrating the one-year anniversary of beginning its 4G LTE rollout with an ambitious plan to repurpose half of its 2G EDGE network this year and complete the other half by mid-2015.

Those customers in slow EDGE markets should start noticing faster speeds on their handsets in the coming months. T-Mobile US Inc. says it will also begin deploying LTE in the 700MHz A-block spectrum it is in the process of acquiring from Verizon Wireless . (See T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band and T-Mobile Spends $2.4B on Verizon Spectrum .)

T-Mobile's LTE network currently covers 210 million potential customers across 273 markets in the US. It plans to reach 230 million people by mid-year and 250 million by the end of the year.

The self-proclaimed "Uncarrier" also said Thursday that it is launching a new campaign to combat Verizon's "competitive claims" and has ordered a cease and desist against the carrier and its map ads that depict the relative footprint of Verizon and T-Mobile. CEO John Legere said in a statement that the ads "massively understate our coverage and don't begin to represent the actual customer experience on T-Mobile's network."

Why this matters
Even while winning customers over with its pricing shake-ups, T-Mobile has had a hard time shaking the reputation of having a shoddy 2G network outside of city limits. That said, the carrier has turned up most of its LTE network in just six months, moving at an unprecedented speed for the US wireless market. Transitioning those stuck on EDGE to the faster network will be an important step in its network evolution.

It is narrowing the gap on its larger rivals Verizon and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and is racing number-three operator and rumored merger partner Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) on market counts. Sprint currently claims 340 markets.

Related posts:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Fabian Cortez
100%
0%
Fabian Cortez,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/4/2014 | 2:33:04 PM
Huh?
 

From the article:

"Those customers in slow EDGE markets should start noticing faster speeds on their handsets in the coming months."

How? The GSM/GPRS/EDGE/"2G" network is over the PCS (1900MHz) band. The only phone that T-Mobile sells that supports LTE over PCS is the Galaxy S 5. And that's not out yet.

While the AWS LTE upgrades came with PCS UMTS/HSPA+/"3G", a lot of these GSM/GPRS/EDGE/"2G"-only markets do not have enough spectrum for PCS UMTS/HSPA+/"3G" and PCS LTE.

The good thing about this is that GSM/GPRS/EDGE/"2G" will virtually be a thing of the past, Sprint already uses PCS for LTE (handset diversity), and AT&T will be refarming their PCS [once again] for LTE (more devices to choose from).

Quote:

"ambitious plan"

What's so ambituous about it? They already proved that they have the capability of meeting and exceeding their goals. Proof: the recent refarm and LTE rollout. It took Verizon wireless 2 years to cover what T-Mobile covered in 1 year with LTE.

And markets don't necessailry count when POPs are involved. POP for POP, Sprint and T-Mobile are close. In fact, as of March 13 of 2014, Sprint covered 200 million POPs while T-Mobile covered 210 million POPs.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/13/2014 | 6:07:47 PM
Re: T-Mobile hold outs

Coverage is T-Mobile's Achilles' heel. They seem to have great technology, compelling plans, and a winning marketing profile. But if the consumer can't get a signal, none of that does any good.

MordyK
100%
0%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/13/2014 | 4:21:47 PM
Re: T-Mobile hold outs
I tried transferring to them from AT&T but indoors sucked so I stayed with AT&T, but oviosuly the burbs are important from a cost perspective of coverage per cell site ratio. This makes me wonder if T-Mobile acquired Nextel - with all the trouble it would have caused - would it have been better off?...

Agreed on channel 51's eventual expiration
DanJones
100%
0%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/13/2014 | 4:17:46 PM
Re: T-Mobile hold outs
I don't imagine the channel 51 broadcasts willl be around forever though. T-Mob is pretty good in the city. They need the 700 for the 'burbs.
MordyK
100%
0%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/13/2014 | 4:09:50 PM
Re: T-Mobile hold outs
From a poor coverage perspective the 700MHz A-Block deployment will be far more important as it solves indoors. Unfortunately NYC won't benefit due to channel 51 interference.
SarahReedy
0%
100%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/13/2014 | 12:33:30 PM
T-Mobile hold outs
As T-Mobile has announced all its pricing and marketing shake-ups, I've seen a number of comments like, "I wish I could switch, but the coverage is just too terrible in my area." I wonder if this upgrade will convince those people in 2G areas to make the switch now. Advertising the upgrade as its available will be important for T-Mo.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Graham Finnie from Heavy Reading about some of the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control.
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cuomo Unveils Broadband Aid Program
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/19/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive