How Fast Will T-Mobile's LTE Be?
One of the big questions around the upcoming T-Mobile USA launch of LTE-Advanced is just what kind of data speeds it will offer in its first markets. The only official word I've had from the operator is that its new network will offer theoretical peak speeds of 72 Mbit/s on the downlink. I should day that this was way back at the end of February 2012, so that may not even be the latest lab data. Real world speeds on the network could be quite different anyway. For instance, a reader asked about what size radio channels T-Mobile will launch on: 2x10MHz or 2X5MHz? This might seem like a minor point, but it's not. One of the ways that AT&T Inc. has managed to glean more speed than Sprint Nextel Inc. from its LTE deployments is because it has twice the bandwidth of Sprint to play with in some areas. T-Mobile has some of the same issues. It doesn't have enough spectrum to work with 2x10MHz channels in every market. Raw speed is not the only point of LTE-Advanced. The increased density of the network will result in better up-time and overall performance for end users quite apart from the speed. Data speeds, however, are one of the ways that operators have been selling 4G. It's arguably at least partly their fault if subscribers are conditioned to the need for speed. Anyhow, I did ask T-Mobile about expected speeds, channel sizes and various other issues. They're not commenting yet but promised an update -- presumably after the LTE network in Las Vegas goes live. I'll keep you updated when I know more. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile