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T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, speaking with Fierce Wireless explained that T-Mobile will be the first wireless carrier to deploy integrated radios in North America. Ray says that integrated radios will be critical to T-Mobile’s network modernization process and its deployment of LTE Release 10. By integrating the antenna and the radio, power consumption can be reduced and less space is required on each tower. T-Mobile’s network modernization plan, which has only come to light in the past two weeks, came together internally in just eight weeks time. Ray says that T-Mobile is moving ahead as fast as it possibly can: “We are pushing as hard as we can.”
Ray continued to point out how T-Mobile will differentiate its LTE network from the competition by deploying LTE Release 10, which can be upgraded to LTE Advanced via a software upgrade. Ray explained that other operators, notably AT&T and Verizon have not deployed LTE Release 10 gear but instead opted to deploy LTE Release 8.
Ray confirmed that T-Mobile will continue to support its 2G customers as it refarms the 1900MHz spectrum adding that T-Mobile has no plans to decommission its GSM network. Ray emphasized that T-Mobile’s 2G network provides international roaming revenue and is home to a lot of their M2M customers.
Ray also said that T-Mobile is still considering HSPA+ 84 technology, (which we should point out, contradicts comments made earlier in the week by Senior Vice President Andrew Sherrard0 but has made no commitments noting that many chipset vendors have not included HSPA+ 84 in their roadmap. Ray finished by saying that there is still time for the HSPA+ 84 ecosystem to develop but that T-Mobile is now focused on their LTE roadmap.
Editors Note: Just to clarify for everyone who may ask, T-Mobile’s original LTE rollout will be theoretically capable of 72Mbps. The ability to software update the network to LTE 10 allows for T-Mobile to easily upgrade their network to much faster speeds with more backhaul. LTE 10 has a theoretical max of 150Mbps. For what it’s worth, our main spectrum guru Conan Kudo tells me that HSPA+ is really more network efficient than LTE up until release 10.