T-Mobile’s Network Modernization: What Is It? Where Can I Get Coverage?

T-Mobile’s network modernization project is in full swing, but if my inbox is any kind of indication, there’s still plenty of lingering confusion about what it is and how it benefits you? So let’s go for an informative stroll.

Approximately 90% of T-Mobile’s network traffic is on their 3G and 4G bands, that’s 1700 MHz and 2100 MHz for reference. That percentage leaves their 2G bands, in the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz drastically underutilized. So, T-Mobile came to the decision that the best use of those 2G bands, would be to “refarm” the extra 1900 MHz spectrum from its current EDGE technology to HSPA+. This will not drop 2G 1900 coverage in you area, but will free up some of that spectrum for 4G services.

So what are the benefits of this network modernization project?

  • Increased 4G capacity
  • Better support for the explosion in data use
  • Smoother connections and fewer dropped calls
  • Backwards compatibility — if you are out of a 4G area, you’ll fall back onto 2G coverage
  • Improved performance for unlocked iPhones and other devices on the network

T-Mobile’s network modernization project will improve approximately all 37,000+ towers the company is operating over the course of 18 months. These changes offer improved voice and data coverage, as well as a 20% improvement to indoor coverage.

So what does the future hold?

Well, we already have a pretty good idea as T-Mobile gears up to release LTE Release-10, also know as LTE Advanced, which is a “newer and more stable technology” than what Verizon and AT&T are now deploying. T-Mobile has already stated Las Vegas and Kansas City will be first, with more than 100 million pops by the middle of the year and 200 million pops in the majority of the top 50 markets by the end of 2013.

As the network modernization progress continues, there may be some temporary minimal impact to your service as coverage is improved. There may be times while construction is ongoing that customers will see a stronger 2G signal than 3G or 4G, or swing back and forth between the two networks. This impact is minimal and common as networks are improved across the industry. Average time to upgrade a tower is 3 days.

Tests have already shown that a 33% increase in HSPA+ speeds is realistic as well as devices like the iPhone 4S testing up to 70% faster on T-Mobile’s network over AT&T.

Hopefully this helps clear up some of the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding T-Mobile’s network modernization project and will showcase the advantages customers will receive when completed.

Currently live locations of 1/11/13:

  • Kansas City, KS
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Houston, TX
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Miami, FL
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Mesa, AZ
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Fresno, CA
  • Reno, NV
  • Anaheim. CA
  • New York, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • Boston, MA
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Springfield, MA
  • Providence, RI
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Warren, MI
  • Dallas, TX
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Austin, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Tampa, FL
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Denver, CO
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Diego, CA


  • tony

    what about provo Utah still have 2G speed in my iphone 5 2G is so slooooooooooow do something TMobile please.

    • Zack Kennedy

      I’m in St. George, Utah. I think we’re about the last to get anything despite a large population. Salt Lame area seems to come first.

  • Dakota

    We only average about 3mbps on HSPA+in Atlanta so we’re surprised to hear this

  • joel

    yes San Antonio

  • Chris

    I am impressed so far.. I have many many t-mobile devices 1700/2100 (Nexus4, GS3, Lumia 920 developer edition, HTC 8X) but now my favorite phone just recently is an unlocked AT&T HTC One X.. I live in the San Jose / Silicon Valley area and consistently getting 4-10mbps on 1900 spectrum.. So if anyone is having reservations about using 1900 (where available) I would say “check it out”.. Chris

    • Chris

      Well this is from Chris from SoCal Area.
      I just want to say that coverage in my area at least has also improve.
      getting 23-24 mbps down now.

  • bgsatx

    great summary of everything that I, as a T-Mobile customer in a city-in-transition, am going through.

  • jayy337

    Im in Long Beach, Ca. I live about 15 miles from downtown LA, and Downtown Long Beach is about 22 miles from downtown LA. 3G is live in DTLB on the 1900mhz band, but spotty at best. I cant get it on my block, much less in my house on my 4S. Will this eventually be fixed? Or is T-Mobile not upgrading those towers? LA is a live market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/unfazedrebel Jé Be (Here but Gone)

    Just hurry up I’ve waited long enough

  • the baby

    What happen with the first state DELAWARE no love

  • crackberry9900

    I don’t see any Connecticut towns on this list .T mobile coverage is really bad ,you can go from 4g to GSM or no service in seconds ,it hurts !

  • pboggini

    So I live in San Jose which was announced on November 20th. I still see edge in some areas albeit fewer than throughout December. While I’m super excited about the reform and I like the HSPA+/LTE rollout plan, I wish T-Mobile would do a better job of setting expectations that us normal folk can relate to. How do I know they are done vs they are still working on it? I think they run the risk of angering people who brought their own device only to not get the speed they were led to believe.

  • me

    You get what you pay for. You want budget level price plans you get budget level service. T-Mobile users want champagne on a beer budget, good luck with that.

  • Mark

    Just wanted to say that in Plano Texas, the coverage has been improving as of late. At my home, I first got a CELLID that was weak in November. In December, I got a different CELLID, and as of last week, I got my 3rd CELLID. With this last one, I now how 4-5 bars consistently in the house on IPhone4S. It appears all of Plano west of 75, north of Goerge Bush, east of the Tollway and south of Legacy is covered. Also, Stone Briar Mall is covered (though not well inside). When they first stated coverage for Plano, it was very spotty. As of today, it looks much better.

  • BasshunterIT

    I really noticed they are likely updating cell towers only in cities and not in small towns or highways like if you ‘re on the road u’ll get probably 2g

  • BeverageNinja

    I gotta say that I’m pretty happy with my speeds. My office is in Austin, TX about 20 minutes north of downtown, and my bars jump between 1-4 depending on where I am in the building. My old phone, SGS2, would pull down anywhere between 4 to 9 Mbps at my desk where I usually have 3 bars. With my Nexus 4 and the new HSPA+ network I pull down anywhere between 7 and 16 Mbps. The best I’ve seen on my phone, over the air, is 22.32Mbps/2.89Mbps. At home I average around 8Mbps, but I guess I’m a ways out there.

    The only issue is that as I drive around I lose data connection or roads that I never lost connection on before. I’m hoping this is due to the towers being upgraded like the article suggested.

  • AndTheWorldMayNeverKnow

    I’m in the Sacramento market but in the edge and I pull 5-8 consistently with my GS3 and I pull solid 5 on my hotspot. I was expecting more from the hotspot because I have 4 bars coverage where I live but I’m hoping to see some speed increases soon in my area. Last night, early this morning I got kicked off the network then back on so hopefully that had something to do with the upgrades going on

  • loyaltmobilecustomer

    I am in Mesa, AZ and have already noticed a difference. I have gotten barely two bars in 4G at my desk and no bars or reception in the women’s bathroom. Now I get 3 bars at my desk and 2 bars with 2G in the bathroom. I have also seen increased download speeds.

  • Bill Berry

    I have begged and begged and begged for them to put in a few towers..even 2G for in and around the Thomaston, GA area which is a donut hole here in the state. MetroPCS is roaming for our neck of the woods and still no help…so short of putting my own repeater out on a tree or a power pole and run my wifi out to it…wishful thinking…y’all lucky devils!

  • mrmaster198

    When will this come to TALLAHASSEE

  • Luis Robles

    All i have is edge on my unlocked HTC Butterfly the international version this is very disapointing because im in the tri-state area (Jersey) ,so shouldn’t i have 3G at the minimum….

  • SM

    Spokane Washington has it…reports of 11mb download on the iphone 4s….avg about 5mb.

  • Bill Smith

    According to the announcement at CES, Las Vegas was going to be up and running in a few weeks…its not up and running yet!

  • jaec116

    I guess since it’s now illegal to unlock your phones, T-Mobile has stopped the reframming process.

  • Irfan

    Alexandria, VA, Getting 1900MHZ signals on ATT&T Glassy s 3 , it is 3G, not 4G and way better then ATT&T 3G , on the screen show 4G but its basically 3G, just a trick on dial pad dial *#2263# and select WCDMA, and go to go … other think is that T-Mobile unlocked Galaxy S3 having 1900MHZ frequency which mean it also able to work on ATT&T 3G .

  • Guest

    t-mobile has 850 for edge wouldn’t it be better 1900 at building penetration for hspda+ or lte if they modernized it in some areas not all but they parts they estimated unused but i know its to target ship jumpers, unlocked phones and iPhone users but still ….

  • aj

    I just bought the HTC ONE and using T-Mobile in the Los Angeles San Fernando area. I have to say in the main freeways I have no problem with connection and noticed average speed between 5 and 20 Mbps. in some streets I noticed it to reach 24 Mbps download and 22Mbp upload. But in many locations still get one bar and Edge but still great improvement. Hope the coverage will get better in the future. But no matter what, I will never leave T-Mobile, I have been a customer for more than 6 years and am happy with them. yes you can get better coverage with ATT and VERIZON but imagine the outrageous prices you would be paying.