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T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

T-Mobile US is getting ready to upgrade its 4G LTE with wider channels for faster data speeds across the majority of the top 25 markets by the end of 2013.

The operator started its 4G LTE services in July with 2x5MHz channels in New York City and many other markets. At the unveiling of 116 live markets in New York City earlier this month, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray promised average speeds of between 10 Mbit/s and 20 Mbit/s on the new networks. (See T-Mobile: Summertime & the LTE is Speedy.) Now the operator is preparing to get more speed and capacity as it adds subscribers to its new service by broadening its radio channels. The operator was testing a 2x10MHz site on 11th Avenue in New York City last week.

"Let’s see the others run this fast," T-Mobile CEO John Legere boasted on Twitter. He posted a speed test photo topping 60 Mbit/s on downloads and in excess of 18 Mbit/s on the uplink.

A T-Mobile spokesperson provided Light Reading Mobile further details on the test on Tuesday evening. "For testing purposes... we have been briefly deploying and testing 10+10 MHz of LTE in a few areas of the city," the spokesperson wrote in an email.

During the tests, the operator re-purposed some of the spectrum normally used for 3G. "In these areas during brief testing windows we have taken HSPA+ 42 to HSPA+ 21 -- and then restored HSPA+ 42 after the tests."

T-Mobile plans to update to 2x10 MHz channels on LTE in New York by the end of this year, running the 4G update in addition to its existing HSPA+ 42 network. "Nationwide, we plan to deploy 10+10 MHz of LTE in 90 percent of the top 25 markets by the end of the year," the spokesperson notes.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2013 | 9:19:20 PM
re: T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels is a good place to start. Spectrum Dashboard, and recent filings.
User Rank: Light Beer
7/30/2013 | 8:31:41 PM
re: T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels
Milanyc where can i read up on T-Mo's and Metro's spectrum/blocks
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2013 | 6:27:22 PM
re: T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels
I know I was there they took down HSPA+42 and used extra 10Mhz in the lower F block to test 2x10Mhz.

But thats not their strategy really. They wanna keep that HSPA+42 and connect existing E block LTE with metros D block LTE.

That way they don't have to cannibalize CDMA or HSPA+42
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2013 | 5:58:18 PM
re: T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels
I would guess that's the plan. That's not what they did for the test though:

I asked: "T-Mobile is not currently using MetroPCS cell sites for our network in New York."

They borrowed bandwidth from 3G HSPA+ network instead
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2013 | 3:15:37 PM
re: T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels
They do. Currently their LTE is in C Block. 2x5Mhz. Once that's moved to D block and contiguous with T-Mobile's E block, they can MOCN the physical layer and rebroadcast off of T-Mobile's core for both customer bases. They're doing the same in Vegas connecting Metro's D + T-Mo's E block for 2x10Mhz.
User Rank: Blogger
7/30/2013 | 3:07:35 PM
re: T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels
Nice! That sounds like a good theory. Doesn't MetroPCS run on 5x5 channels? I imagine it'll have to upgrade them as it's able.
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2013 | 2:17:07 PM
re: T-Mobile to Speed 4G LTE With Wider Channels
That test site in NYC was crazy fast, the entire 73.6Mbps 10Mhz LTE downlink sector at one point was all mine:

I know MetroPCS is asking their authorized store reps to update all customers' units with new firmware by July 31st, or they may lose LTE connectivity.
I'm thinking they're shifting around MetroPCS AWS spectrum in markets like NYC where Metro's CDMA block is breaking LTE continuity.
C Block - MetroPCS 2x5Mhz LTE
D Block - MetroPCS CDMA
E Block - T-Mobile 2x5Mhz LTE

Once they shift CDMA to C block, D+E Block will be wide open for 2x10Mhz LTE.
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