T-Mobile USA to Be Ready for iPhone by End of 2012, LTE Coming in 2013

T-Mobile USA yesterday announced its plans to begin work with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks to roll out LTE service in 2013, taking advantage of spectrum it obtained from AT&T last week following the failed merger of the two carriers. But perhaps more importantly for iPhone users, T-Mobile's network improvements will allow it to offer HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band compatible with current iPhone hardware "by the end of the year".

As part of the company’s network modernization effort, T-Mobile also plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year. Network modernization trials have shown up to a 33 percent increase in HSPA+ data speeds as well as improved in-building coverage. Rolling out 4G HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band will also provide customers with the ability to use a broader range of devices, including the iPhone, on T-Mobile’s 4G network.

T-Mobile already has over one million iPhone customers on its network and has been beefing up support for those customers even though they are currently limited to T-Mobile's much slower EDGE data network.


T-Mobile USA began refarming its spectrum late last year, allowing a small number of users to access 3G speeds on the 1900 MHz band compatible with the iPhone. With yesterday's announcement, that refarming will spread nationwide and make it possible for the carrier to fully support the iPhone without Apple being required to build hardware specific to T-Mobile and a handful of other carriers using the 1700/2100 MHz AWS bands for their 3G/4G service.

AllThingsD notes that T-Mobile USA Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray acknowledged that the spectrum refarming will allow the carrier to aggressively target current AT&T customers whose contracts have lapsed by the end of the year.

Ray declined to comment on whether the company would directly target iPhone users in a big marketing push planned for later this year.

“It would make sense,” Ray agreed, but added, “We’re not there yet.”

Apple is widely expected to include LTE support in the next-generation iPhone, and a September-October release in line with rumors would still leave T-Mobile behind the curve with its LTE network not rolling out until 2013. But the carrier would certainly be in a much more competitive position simply by offering a fast HSPA+ network supporting the iPhone.

Top Rated Comments

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105 months ago
SEE! Look what happens when we don't allow monopolies via mergers. Innovation!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago
It will be nice to have an alternative to AT&T.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago

The only bad part is - T-Mobile would have done this sooner had they not been in negotiations for a merger.


Agree and disagree -

T-Mob now actually has money due to the failed takeover (merger my butt).

However, the parent T-mobile was really not interested in the US operations so it was not going anywhere.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago

Isn't the only iPhone that is compatible with HSPA+ the latest iPhone 4S? If so, then how aggressive can T-Mobile really get for contract lapsed AT&T customers, when iPhone 4S users will presumably be locked in for another year and a half?


Good question, smart customers know that breaking a contract and paying termination fee during the first 6 month of a contract is a win, breaking a contract within the 6 - 18 months period is a breakeven, and -get this- the last 6 months of your contract you actually already paid for it, and AT&T continue to force you to pay around $20 in subsidy. That's why I laugh at people who say "oh I am going to stick to my phone one more year". You are giving their greedy CEO nothing but additional pure profit.

Think about the selected few who were wise enough to sell their iPhone 4 and get an iPhone 4S a year or so after their contact.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago

Bummer that their new commercials specifically bash HSPA+ iPhones. Pretty stupid on their part, and yet another example of muddles corporate messaging.


Verizon did the same thing before launching the iPhone on their network. It's one of the reasons people said it was never coming to Verizon.

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What was the point in T-Mobile using moon-frequencies in the first place?

They've been "incompatible" with everything for years and years and years. Yeah, it's good that they're switching NOW, but why couldn't they have started this back in 2009 or whenever?


I think they didn't have enough 850/1900 spectrum to cover both GSM and 3G/HSPA when just about every device was GSM.

As more and more phones support 3G technologies, they can start refarming more of the GSM frequencies to 3G as their will be less devices using GSM.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago
This is great news for the budget conscience smartphone user. All those iPhone 4 and 4S's that will get unloaded when the LTE iPhone gets released this year will work quite nicely with T-Mobile's value plan (or daily prepaid options). The other major carriers don't even try to compete with T-mobile Value (aka bring your own phone) plan.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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