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T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
1/11/2013
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T-Mobile USA appears to be on track to be the first carrier to launch LTE-Advanced in the U.S. T-Mobile CEO Neville Ray said at CES this week that the carrier will first launch the new 4G upgrade in Las Vegas. TmoNews reports that the CTO said the launch will happen within "weeks." T-Mobile has previously said that it expects to cover 100 million potential customers with fresh 4G by the middle of this year. And by the end of 2013, 200 million will be within the footprint. Light Reading Mobile can help shed some light on what this new 4G upgrade is and where T-Mobile might take it: Where will T-Mobile go next with LTE-Advanced?
If it follows its 3G upgrade path as it did will the latest 42Mbit/s update, the next markets to get LTE could include New York City, Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla. Then -- given the operator's current spectrum footprint -- other top markets to follow could include Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore and Seattle. Just what is LTE-Advanced?
LTE-Advanced is defined in release 10 of the LTE specification. The specification uses a few different techniques at the radio access network (RAN) and handset to boost the data speeds and spectrum efficiency of the broadband specification. These include "carrier aggregation" techniques that bond together two or more separate radio channels to get faster data speeds; two-by-two smart antenna arrays (also known as 2x2 multiple input, multiple output (MIMO)) for faster uplink and downlink; and relay nodes -- low-power base stations that will provide improved coverage and capacity at the cell edge. The upgrade calls for maximum download rates of 3 Gbit/s and uploads of 1.5 Gbit/s, but these targets won't translate to the real world. The 3GPP specification allows up to 100MHz of spectrum in bonded channels, and such an amount of bandwidth is a dream for carriers around the world. T-Mobile will have a maximum of 20MHz to play with, and not in every market. It should be noted that LTE-Advanced and WiMax 2 were initially designed as the first initial 4G technologies to come on the market. Here's a handy primer from chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. on how LTE-Advanced should work in the real world:

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— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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Dan Jones
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Dan Jones,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/24/2013 | 8:36:37 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
-áHey, I tried to get an update and an answer on channels. They weren't forthcoming:

http://www.lightreading.com/bl...
milan03
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milan03,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/14/2013 | 11:08:12 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
Thank you DJ, I really look forward for this info as I've been brainstorming over this for a while.

Their equipment is certainly top notch, capable of LTE carrier aggregation, but also MC-HSPA+ if they ever wanted to which is awesome! At this point it looks like they are shooting for single carrier LTE config, with a clear path to 2x20Mhz by 2015 when they could aggregate.
-áI'm more interested in their initial LTE configurations at launch (short term) and whether they'll scale down their DC-HSPA+ network to widen the LTE channels in AWS constrained markets.-á
Dan Jones
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Dan Jones,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/14/2013 | 3:42:04 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
-áYeah, not everything is going to have the same channels at start. Remember they will be able to use carrier aggregation under release 10 as they refarm though.

I'll ask T-Mob about the channels for you.

DJ
milan03
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milan03,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/11/2013 | 11:52:10 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
Not all markets will be 2x10Mhz and 73mbps capable at launch. You've mentioned New York City, but T-Mobile only has 30Mhz of AWS, and 20Mhz is already deployed and being used for their DC-HSPA+ network (F Block).
That leaves T-Mo with only 10Mhz of E Block, enough for 37mbps capable 2x5Mhz LTE.
Philly, Baltimore, Chicago and Vegas to name a few are in similar situation.

They could launch 2x10Mhz LTE in these markets if they scale down their DC-HSPA+ to HSPA+21, but I'm not sure if they would make that move.

It would be interesting if you could acquire more information from T-Mobile on this particular situation. They did claim "only" 90% of Top 25 Markets will have 2x10Mhz at launch, wonder how are they gonna go about 2x5Mhz markets.
Dan Jones
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Dan Jones,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 8:21:32 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
-áIts going to depend heavily on the backhaul. AT&T is already getting over 20-Mbit/s in a couple of cities don't forget.
joanengebretson
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joanengebretson,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 5:49:51 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
DAN- Nice post, good explanation of LTE Advanced

If LTE speeds start to get as high as this post discusses. it seems like we could start seeing more wireless substitution on the data side as well as on the voice side.
Dan Jones
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Dan Jones,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 5:25:35 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
-áProbably not if they're talking about 72 meg as the theoretical maximum right now.
Cristian Santana A.
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Cristian Santana A.,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 5:20:54 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
thats sound good, by the way i would like to know if T-mobile could give 100mbs//100mbs in the real word for cellphone service
Dan Jones
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Dan Jones,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 5:17:17 PM
re: T-Mobile's 4G Advance: Where LTE Goes After Vegas
If you're wondering about speeds, remember:

"T-Mobile's initial LTE deployment in
2013 will deliver theoretical peak speeds of 72 Mbit/s on the downlink,"
a T-Mobile spokeswoman tells Light Reading Mobile. The operator
currently offers a high-speed packet access-plus (HSPA+) service,
marketed as 4G, that tops out at 42 Mbit/s, as well as a 21Mbit/s
flavor.

See: http://www.lightreading.com/lo...

I wouldn't be surprised to see some 50-Mbit/s+ results early on...
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