T-Mobile Will Launch LTE in 2013

T-Mobile US Inc. plans to move to faster mobile data services in 2013 with a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the U.S.

T-Mobile USA said Thursday that it will invest US$4 billion to strengthen its network by installing new equipment at 37,000 cell sites and deploying its fast 3G High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) on its PCS (1900MHz) spectrum band. This spectrum re-farming effort, combined with the AWS (1700/2100MHz) spectrum T-Mobile USA will receive due to the termination of the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) transaction, will allow the deployment of faster LTE service on AWS spectrum in 2013.

AT&T paid out a $3 billion breakup fee to the Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) subsidiary after its acquisition deal fell apart in December. Ma Bell also gave T-Mobile additional spectrum as part of the split. (See T-Mobile Breakup Causes $6.7B Q4 Loss for AT&T .)

"In 2012 and 2013, T-Mobile USA will invest to get the business back to growth, including an incremental $1.4 billion investment in its network modernization initiative, which will total a $4 billion investment over time," Philipp Humm, CEO of T-Mobile USA, said in a statement.

The company was still suffering from the lack of the iPhone in its smartphone line-up in the fourth quarter of 2011. T-Mobile reported that it had net customer losses of 526,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to 23,000 net customer losses in the fourth quarter of 2010. (See T-Mobile Could Get the Next iPhone and T-Mobile Stems Sub Losses With Pre-Paid Plans.)

T-Mobile reported service revenues of $4.57 billion for the quarter, down from $4.69 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010. Operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) of $1.4 billion was up from $1.34 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010. The operator's average revenue per user in the fourth quarter was $46, in line with the fourth quarter of 2010.

T-Mobile is the last major carrier to announce LTE plans in the U.S. (See Mapping LTE: AT&T & Verizon's 4G Footprints, T-Mobile's Fighting Spirit and T-Mobile USA Bigs Up HSPA+.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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