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CTIA: T-Mobile's 4G/LTE Snaps at Verizon's Heels

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

LAS VEGAS -- CTIA -- T-Mobile USA's 4G LTE network in Las Vegas is offering average downloads of 12.5 Mbit/s with drastically better uploads than its HSPA+ network, almost keeping pace with Verizon Wireless, according to the team at RootMetrics. The mobile speed-watching company reports that T-Mobile has average downloads of 12.5 Mbit/s, average uploads of 7.1 Mbit/s and maximum downloads of 29 Mbit/s. By comparison, RootMetrics found that AT&T Inc.'s LTE service achieved average downloads of 18.7 Mbit/s and a maximum observed download of 59 Mbit/s. Verizon Wireless has average downloads of 13.9 Mbit/s and a maximum of 52.9 Mbit/s. "T-Mobile's 12.5 Mbps LTE-only average download speed ran almost neck-and-neck with Verizon's Las Vegas LTE network," writes Patrick Linder, communications manager at RootMetrics, in a special report. "In other words, the nation’s youngest LTE network performed nearly as well as the nation's most mature LTE network in our Las Vegas average download speed tests." T-Mobile is using LTE Release 10, the technology that will eventually be upgradable to LTE-Advanced in a 2x5MHz channel in Las Vegas. AT&T and Verizon deploy LTE in 2x10MHz channels. One noticeable difference between T-Mobile and its larger rivals is that RootMetrics found LTE coverage of more than 60 percent in Las Vegas when testing the network. Linder describes this as a "great opening act," but notes that the more established networks of AT&T and Verizon are at, or approaching, 99 percent coverage in the Nevada city. "In our Las Vegas tests at least, AT&T and Verizon transformed the promise of widespread LTE access into reality," writes Linder. Julie Dey, VP of marketing at RootMetrics, says the major carriers appear to have been layering in more LTE coverage in Las Vegas. RootMetrics will be testing speeds and coverage as the CTIA show goes on. "We have a data collector walking around the conference with a whole set of phones," she says. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Full disclosure: I've also been checking T-Mobile LTE speeds using the RootMetrics smartphone app. I've been seeing download speeds of just over 16 Mbit/s and uploads of over 8 Mbit/s around the Trump Towers hotel.

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5/27/2013 | 1:07:35 PM
re: CTIA: T-Mobile's 4G/LTE Snaps at Verizon's Heels
T-Mobile hasn't rolled out features like carrier aggregation yet though, so it's release 10 without all the features that make it advanced yet.
5/26/2013 | 7:05:48 AM
re: CTIA: T-Mobile's 4G/LTE Snaps at Verizon's Heels
"T-Mobile is using LTE Release 10, the technology that will eventually be upgradable to LTE-Advanced in a 2x5MHz channel in Las Vegas." <<--- LTE Release 10 "is" LTE-Advanced.

Otherwise, it is not "fair" to compare two networks with very different loading. In the unloaded network, fewer users are competing for the same resources in the same cell, and less interference is generated from neighbor cells.
5/22/2013 | 8:18:59 PM
re: CTIA: T-Mobile's 4G/LTE Snaps at Verizon's Heels
Yeah, I was just speaking to NSN a few minutes ago about this, they don't "own" the T-Mobile network here but they said they thought it had just literally switched to 2x10MHz in Vegas. NSN is already starting to migrate the MetroPCS traffic in other areas as well apparently.
Moonbaseone EpicFansite
Moonbaseone EpicFansite
5/22/2013 | 7:57:16 PM
re: CTIA: T-Mobile's 4G/LTE Snaps at Verizon's Heels
I think I will be leaving ATT for Tmobile. I could save approx. $50.00 if I keep the exact family plan I have right now. Tmobile's service works well where I need it too. Also, I like how they donot throttle their unlimited data plan.
5/22/2013 | 5:03:45 PM
re: CTIA: T-Mobile's 4G/LTE Snaps at Verizon's Heels
The Tmobile LTE service has actually been more reliable for me than the Wi-Fi service for me.
5/22/2013 | 4:59:27 PM
re: CTIA: T-Mobile's 4G/LTE Snaps at Verizon's Heels
Keep in mind that as of last week, T-Mobile's LTE network in Las Vegas is actually 2x10Mhz. They've joined MetroPCS existing D block with their E block, and the new MOCN is running entirely on T-Mobile core.

Speeds should be north of 50Mbps considering it's almost completely unloaded LTE network. That said, I've noticed some network management on T-Mobile's network, DC-HSPA+ being rate limited at about 15.5Mbps, and 2x5Mhz LTE peaking at just about 30Mbps.
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