T-Mobile USA's 4G LTE network is now officially live in seven cities in time for its upcoming iPhone 5 launch on April 12.
The "uncarrier's" unapologetic, slightly unhinged CEO John Legere relayed the news at T-Mobile's big uncarrier unveiling today in New York City. Describing the network as "smoking fast," Legere said it has flipped the switch in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, and Washington, D.C.
OpenSignals Research also observed LTE signals on the Samsung Galaxy Note II in Seattle, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco, and New York City. Legere said NYC was flipped on just for today's event, but will probably be live by early summer, boasting download speeds of over 60 Mbit/s.
T-Mobile has invested over $4 billion in modernizing its network, and Legere promised 2 x 10 channel LTE would reach 100 million Americans by mid-year and 200 million by the year's end. He admitted T-Mobile would be building out some 2 x 5 (which is also smoking fast, he assured), but is moving to 2 x 10 channels. With MetroPCS in the mix, a deal the execs said they were confident would close, it will migrate to 2 x 20 channels in the 2014 to 2015 time frame.
Legere and T-Mobile marketing chief Mike Sievert used their stage to talk a lot of smack on all the wireless operators, but their biggest target was clearly their erstwhile partner AT&T Inc.. The other big unveil was that T-Mobile will begin carrying the $99 iPhone 5 on April 12 with support for LTE in the AWS spectrum, HSPA+42 in AWS, and PCS in the 1900 MGHz band. T-Mobile iPhone owners will only have access to LTE in a few markets, but it'll have a fast fallback network on day one.
These are the same frequencies that AT&T uses, and T-Mobile is welcoming its customers with open arms to make the switch. Already, 2.1 million people have fled AT&T, Legere said, and T-Mobile is doing its part to make it as smooth as possible to bring them over with unlocked devices. Its other initial LTE devices will include the Samsung Galaxy S IV and Galaxy Note II, BlackBerry Z10, HTC One, and a Sonic 2.0 mobile hotspot.
"This is the reason we are attacking -- attacking is a strong word -- focusing on AT&T," Legere jibed, reopening old wounds from the 2007 launch of the iPhone on AT&T's network. "As those unlocked iPhones are able to be moved over, we expect a large influx."
— Sarah Reedy, contributing editor, Light Reading