Will T-Mobile Get an LTE Note Too?

Could T-Mobile US Inc. follow larger rivals such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) in getting the pocket-busting Samsung Corp. Galaxy Note II on 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) soon?

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and smaller operator U.S. Cellular Corp. (NYSE: USM) revealed Wednesday that they will get the new Samsung device with a whopping 5.5-inch screen in the coming months. Samsung says that the device will be available by mid-November, although U.S. Cellular says its customers can buy the Note in stores in late October.

What is not clear yet is whether T-Mobile will be getting a Note that is compatible with its upcoming LTE network. The fourth-largest U.S. mobile operator is expecting to launch an LTE network in 2013. (See T-Mobile Promises Multi-Megabit Peaks on LTE and T-Mobile's New CEO to Lead Challenger Strategy.)

"Don’t have anything else to share beyond that T-Mobile’s version is compatible with its HSPA+ 42 network," a spokesman for the operator tells Light Reading Mobile in response to questions. The operator says it will have more details to share in "the coming weeks."

RootMetrics found recently that T-Mobile's 42+ network is actually faster than Sprint's LTE on average, with downloads at over 5 Mbit/s. Over time, as the networks get loaded down, the upload speeds are likely to become the big issue since it's using an evolution of 3G technology rather than 4G Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) technology. (See What We Mean When We Say '4G'.)

4G traffic on their networks could start to become more of an issue for all carriers as devices like the Note II and the iPhone 5 arrive. These data-hungry, big-screen devices could be among the first popular gizmos to stress carrier LTE networks with audio and video, as well as stretch their owners' pockets. (See iPhone 5: A 4G Stress Test and The iPhone 5: A Fashion Disaster?)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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