T-Mobile Eyes Fatter Pipes for 4G LTE

T-Mobile's CTO is promising fatter pipes for faster 4G LTE services from the operator coming soon.

T-Mobile US Inc. says that LTE is now live across 223 markets, with 202 million potential pops and 91 percent of the top 100 major metro areas covered. The operator had said that it would cover at least 200 million people by the end of the year. (See: T-Mobile Plays LTE Catch Up.)

Many of those markets are now moving to 2x10MHz channels that should speed up T-Mobile's 4G services. CTO Neville Ray told Light Reading last week he expects to have the fatter pipes in 100 hundred markets "by the end of the year" including in 90 percent of the top 25 metro areas.

This will include updates from 2x5MHz in New York City to the larger channels by the end of the quarter. The network watchers at OpenSignal are already finding that T-Mobile's LTE network is plenty fast.

Here's how OpenSignal breaks down the top 10 biggest cities in the US based on "a combination of overall coverage, download speed, upload speed, and latency."

Table 1: How the LTE Networks Perform

City Avg. Download Speed Best Network
New York 6.7 Mbps T-Mobile
Los Angeles 7.5 Mbps AT&T
Chicago 6.6 Mbps AT&T
Houston 7.3 Mbps T-Mobile
Philadelphia 5.5 Mbps Verizon
Phoenix 9.7 Mbps T-Mobile
Dallas 8.6 Mbps T-Mobile
San Diego 9.6 Mbps T-Mobile
San Jose 10.8 Mbps T-Mobile
San Antonio 6.6 Mbps Verizon
Source: OpenSignal

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray is eyeing 2x15MHz and 2x20MHz channel updates for next year and beyond. "20-plus-20 is going to be a 2014 to 2015 story for us," he said.

T-Mobile has 2x20MHz channels tests now running in the labs, and Ray is looking to expand those tests. "We're working hard to see if we can do it by the end of the year," Ray told us.

He stressed that any live 2x20MHz channel tests will be "very small" deployments initially.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 11/5/2013 | 11:19:31 AM
Re: New network effect?/Speeds So they're going to push to get most of the 2014 2x20MHz deployment done in 2014.
DanJones 10/18/2013 | 12:14:11 PM
Re: New network effect?/Speeds There's enough network watchers out there that the operators don't need to crow about speed so much, they can just run with the reports when they can out from RootMetrics, OpenSignal etc. Note that these operations are now trying to add more metrics to show relaibility etc.
Sarah Thomas 10/18/2013 | 11:05:02 AM
Re: New network effect?/Speeds On its Q3 call, Verizon's CFO Fran Shammo just said they are starting to put the AWS spectrum to use in major markets like NYC, San Fran and Chicago, and will continue to in Q4, but he downplayed the speeds, emphasizing how it's more reliable.
pzernik 10/18/2013 | 10:30:10 AM
Re: New network effect?/Speeds WOW!  20x20 has impressive speeds.  I suspect they're using the AWS spectrum in some capacty constrained locations.  Is VzW releasing anything public on their use of AWS?
DanJones 10/14/2013 | 3:31:19 PM
Re: New network effect?/Speeds Interesting thanks! Going to be a race it seems...
milan03 10/14/2013 | 2:46:50 PM
Re: New network effect?/Speeds Verizon's 2x20Mhz LTE is already popping up in NYC in various midtown locations: http://i.imgur.com/XvTGvSG.png
DanJones 10/14/2013 | 2:31:39 PM
Re: New network effect?/Speeds Could be.

Chimes with my experience of the T-Mobile network though. Kind of shocked that Verizon and AT&T are getting beaten here with wider channels though.
Sarah Thomas 10/14/2013 | 2:25:17 PM
New network effect? Impressive speeds for T-Mobile, although could be the case that its LTE network is still pretty unloaded. AT&T and Verizon had this at the beginning too. But, hey, that's why constantly widening the pipes is important.
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