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

 

  • Travis Rector

    I hope so. My coverage is horrible. I will get all 4 bars and be on 4G, but my speeds are 0.03 – 0.85 Mbps. That’s the highest I’ve gotten. Not 4G at all

    • Lol. What did tmobile say when you called?

    • Spanky

      Yup. I always had full 4 bars of 4G, but the speeds topped out at 0.5 Mbps on both mine and my wife’s phones. Initially, T-Mobile stated that there is an issue with a cell site in my area and that a ticket has been created to remedy the problem. I kept contacting T-Mobile for about a year, and kept receiving the same response. Last time I spoke with them, they stated that there are no issues in my area and blamed the problem on my phones. I found that insulting, as everyone else I know who subscribed to T-Mobile had the same issue in my area. I ended up switching to a different provider.

  • Chris

    Awesome post. Thanks for the info. I’ve noticed my indoor reception is better as well. When I started at my current job in Detroit in August, I was only getting Edge inside. Now I get 2-3 bars of 4g. it’s very nice.

  • Jay

    i still get crappy service inside in Miami, FL

  • D Velasquez

    service got better in Newark NJ, I had issues on the downtown area (where I work) and even in building coverage got better, now I can go to the data center and still have bars on 4g, good job.

  • JayInCA

    I’m very excited about the LTE-Advanced services coming on. David, I’d love to see you post test speeds in a new rollout market as soon as someone chimes in with that info!

  • Travis Rector

    And just checking, is anyone else on 4G and getting speeds under a 1 Mbps? I was talking on their live chat, and they didn’t think that was normal. So they told me to call them and get a ticket so they can find out what’s wrong.

    • mmeyer4663

      I had this same problem just before XMAS in Erie, CO. When the tier 2 tech tried to open a engineering ticket for the problem, she found that she could not due to the fact that there was already an open ticket for…..an LTE upgrade! A couple of weeks later, all was back to normal speeds. Hopefully, I’ll be seeing LTE in the near future on some yet to be announced device.,

    • setzer715

      It’s not normal in MOST cases. There are a few 4G sites still out there that do not have the back haul capable of supporting full 4G speeds. Issues with telco companies delivering the back haul. It could be that or it could be an issue with the site. T-Mobile will get it fixed for ya though.

  • I’m getting 23mbps download, 1-2mbps upload constantly in Miami, Fl. 305 rules!!!!!

    • Zacamandapio

      Showoff!!

  • i have iphone 5 and its still under edge in nyc this company is full of shit…..dont trust them they bunch of freaking lyers…

    • Do you have 3G enabled under the cellular data settings? What part of NYC?

    • setzer715

      Yes, a company as huge as T-Mobile is lying to you, they have NOT modernized the network, they are NOT building out LTE. They are so full of s**t that my wife’s iPhone 5 gets about 7-10Mbps down pretty much anywhere in the Phoenix Valley. Oh wait, that means they are NOT full of s**t!?!?

      You sir should troll elsewhere.

      • Bud

        He said New York City not Phoenix Arizona. And he’s right New York City’s mostly edge

      • Mirad77

        Give Mike a chance. He is complaining about a particular market in which you don’t reside in but rush to call him a troll. If by indication of his Bulls pic then I’ll say he is correct in saying that as the refarm in Chicago is pretty shitty. That doesn’t make you wrong nor him but what you should do is ask which market he is in before telling your story. I don’t think phoenix and Chicago uses the same towers.

        • philyew

          Not saying anything about whether anyone is or is not trolling here, but the OP is talking about service in NYC – that’s what he said.

          We do know, however, from lots of sighting reports at airportal and other comments in various forums that NYC has come along pretty well over recent weeks, with even the upper west side starting to get filled in.

        • B-Mobile

          I travel to New York City just about every 3 day weekend (you can call that damn near once a month) over the past three years using a Vibrant and a SGIII the coverage in the Bronx, Manhattan, Yonkers/Westchester (my stomping grounds) have been decent service/coverage: the only issue I’ve had (this counts for every market not just NYC) I’ve had 3G (Vibrant) or HSPA+ (SGIII) in building coverage I can be in a restaurant or in a store and my single drops down to EDGE, but once you get back out on the sidewalk the data bumps back up. but in my parents house(the Bronx) ive seen an imporvememnt with indoors coverage so i can’t agree with Mike

        • OnlineRefugee

          No can do. Mike used his experience to label the Company as “full of shit” and a “bunch of leyers.”

          His personal experience lacks foundation to paint TMOUS with such broad strokes.

    • eanfoso

      dude check your location, the map is in http://www.airportal.de

    • NYC is pretty much lit up.

    • LOV3BAS3DCUBANO

      Dude if you’re in Queens or Manhattan then you’re getting HSPA+, if you’re in South Brooklyn or Staten Island well then it’s best you wait it out. Remember Sandy did hit us hard so give T-Mobile a chance

      • Spanky

        My speeds were topping out at 0.5 Mbps in Bensonhurst, and this was even before hurricane Irene. T-Mobile’s issues in certain areas of NYC are definitely real.

    • Brian Baranauskas

      Well, maybe you should get a better phone. Iphones are reserved for children with learning impairment.

      • Zacamandapio

        :)

        • It’s funny how he got three dislikes for putting up a smiley face. Just saying

        • goes to show you what type people come here, and their level of maturity. Sad when people think children with learning impairment, is something to joke about. All of this side talk is WAY off topic, and the MOD’s are not doing a good job at cleaning up all the rude comments or slander being thrown around.

    • Zacamandapio

      Who? Apple?

    • Greg

      I have iPhone 5 and 3G works excellent in NYC. Maybe you have 3G turned off???

    • OnlineRefugee

      Sorry… drama queen statements are automatically relegated to the trash heap.

      I know a girl who lives about a block away from Oracle headquarters here in the San Francisco Bay Area. She tried T-Mobile at my suggestion. She could not get a signal anywhere in here condo, that had large windows front and back.

      When she had to switch back to Verizon (from whom she got 4 bars consistently) she did not say I or T-Mobile were a “bunch of lyers.” T-Mobile simply did not work where she resided.

      Bonus Note: I live on Nob Hill in San Francisco, at the very top with huge pic windows facing the Bay and City. With AT&T I get 4 bars. With T-Mobile I get one bar, if I don’t move the phone from a spot on the desk. Although I have no love lost for T-Mobile (customer service) I don’t consider the Company “full of shit” or a “bunch of lyers.”

      • Mark

        If you truly “live on Nob Hill in San Francisco, at the very top with huge pic windows facing the Bay and City,” then David should be hitting you up for investment capital. Or maybe I’ll just ask you to buy me a Viper. :)

    • Mark

      I have a Verizon iPhone 5 and I get close to 9Mbps in NYC and most of eastern Bergen County

    • bakgwailo

      at least spell “liars” correctly.

  • Chris

    I have a question David, hopefully you can clear up a little of my confusion. I did read your article and it did help me understand a bit. I live in El Paso Texas which is a fairly large city but not as big as other’s of course. I live in the Lower Valley section of El Paso and I get great signal but when I drive 15 minutes away to my Grandmother’s house on the far East side of El Paso I almost lose complete coverage yet im still well within my city. I get 1 bar if i’m lucky and my data goes bye bye can I expect T-Mobiles Modernization project to fix this issue at all?

    • Modernization should improve coverage anywhere from 10%-16% simply because it’s moving from the 2100MHz band to 1900MHz band.

      What this will translate to in real world situations regarding your coverage in East El Paso? Time will tell… the area where you are having problems – what does the coverage map say you’re supposed to have?

      You can check your coverage here: http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/pcc.aspx/

      • Chris

        Well if I read the coverage map correctly it is saying there is signal out there but it’s weird cause there really isnt.. Maybe you can check 3277 Leah Point El Paso Tx. 79938

        • It appears to be riiiiiiiight on the precipise of HSPA/EDGE coverage.

          I’m curious if switching your phone to 2G only might improve your situation out there for now.

  • SFJeep

    I live in San Francisco and work in Berkeley. My phone switches to 2G *very* often.

  • rob

    Your list is missing the semi-newly listed Southern CA market. Those OC cities like Irvine, Santa Ana, Tustin, etc…

    • How recent? Cuz the article says the list is “Currently live locations as of 1/11/13”

      • there’s a twitter that lists which towers have been upgraded I think its called UMTS1900

      • pholocity

        most of north OC is lit up, south OC is a bear due to Landlords and jurisdictional challenges

    • pholocity

      when they say Los Angeles they’re referring to the Los Angeles market which will include OC

      • thepanttherlady

        Except Anaheim is specifically listed and it is in OC.

        • pholocity

          spotty coverage in anaheim

        • thepanttherlady

          #1 my post was to point out that OC doesn’t appear to be part of “Los Angeles” as you said since they clearly listed an OC city separately. Things could change moving forward, we’ll find out.

          #2 Whereabouts in Anaheim are you? I actually get better data service on my phone than I do when connected to WiFi.

  • Emmanuel McDonald

    What confuses me is the 2G coverage. So David, you are telling me that after all 37,000+ towers are updated, T-Mobile’s 2G coverage will become 3G/4G coverage? I read somewhere that T-Mobile had 51,000 or 52,000 cell sites that make up their entire network. Are they upgrading the entire network or just their HSPA+ areas? T-Mobile will not make it public if they are upgrading the entire network. At times, they make it seem that the 37,000+ towers make up their entire network. This is what confuses me. I want to be able to visit my parents or travel and still have 3G/4G coverage, as of now, it’s all EDGE.

    • “So David, you are telling me that after all 37,000+ towers are updated, T-Mobile’s 2G coverage will become 3G/4G coverage?” No.

      • Emmanuel McDonald

        “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.” This is what David said. Isn’t EDGE services provided on the 2G band? I felt that it was a good question to ask if they are upgrading the EDGE services to HSPA+. I mean, he practically said they were.

        • Edge service is based on GSM standard frequencies: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900. Tmobile only uses 850/1900 (same as AT&T). What the article is saying is that Tmobile is using the 1900 band that is only used for voice/edge right now and converting it to HSPA+ (which is edge backward compatible) for data.

        • Fabian Cortez

          HSPA+ is not EDGE/GSM backward compatible!

        • gsm1900

          Yes, it absolutely is. HSPA+ is the evolution of the GSM standard. You can maintain a connection without breaking and transfer from HSPA+, HSPA, EDGE, GPRS.

        • It’s 3g/4g backward compatible. At least that’s what they told me in training all those years ago

        • philyew

          Of the 52,000 towers on which TM operate their service, around 37,000 currently support 3G/HSPA+ on the AWS (1700/2100) band. These are the towers that are currently being modernized.

          TM are working through their markets from largest to smallest, re-assigning (refarming) some of the spectrum previously assigned to 2G on the PCS band (1900 MHz) to be used by 3G/HSPA+ services. 2G service (GPRS and EDGE) will continue to be delivered using the narrower spectrum allocations on the PCS band.

          Part of the 3G/HSPA+ services that were previously operating on the AWS band are then moved over to newly re-assigned spectrum on the PCS band, in turn creating space for the deployment of LTE on AWS.

          This determines the sequence of execution that requires the 3g/HSPA+ on PCS to be turned up before LTE turn up is possible.

          Overall, what it means is that in the first 2 years of the program, from February 2012 when this was first announced, TM are going to be spending around $1.4 billion of a total $4 billion budget on network modernization.

          Based on what has been announced so far, they will only be modernizing the towers that already deliver 3G/HSPA+ service, not adding additional service to towers which only deliver 2G. However, it is possible that they may announce other changes that improve this prospect before the initial two years has elapsed.

          The fact that there is another $2.6 billion set aside in the budget for further network modernization initiatives will, we hope, mean that there will in time be investment in those areas where there is only 2G service at best provided right now.

          All of this is based on the various press releases and statements made by TM over the last year.

        • Emmanuel McDonald

          Thank you.

        • Nearmsp

          Great post Philyew. I like your responses on the macrumors website as well. I have copied the above post as a reference for me. Thanks for posting this.

    • eanfoso

      Not exactly mate, the towers that currently are set for 850 MHZ will likely stay like that, because these towers are placed strategically in places outside of the city for longer range of coverage for 2G service, if they were to switch it to 1900 MHZ the service will then drop in range and favour those close to the tower, so basically if you live in a dense populated city yes it’ll switch from edge to HSPA+ and LTE, but if you live in the middle of nowhere where such towers are placed then yeah I don’t think you will be updated to HSPA+ just yet

      • Emmanuel McDonald

        Thank you. I thought T-Mobile only used 1900MHz spectrum. So that is what confused me. So when I’m on EDGE, in some cities, I am connecting to 850MHz spectrum. Maybe 2014-2015, everywhere will receive an upgrade. Once again, thank you.

        • Zacamandapio

          Tmobile uses the 1900Mhz band. If you believe you are getting the 850Mhz then it’s because it’s roaming on At&t.

        • T-Mobile does own small packets of 850 mhz

        • gsm1900

          Dont thank him too quick. His info was completely wrong. TMO only operates on the 1900 (PCS) band and the AWS (1700/2100 band).

      • Fabian Cortez

        You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • Go complain to TMOBILE, not David. This is one website reporting about the network, lol.

      • Emmanuel McDonald

        I wasn’t complaining. I was only asking about the upgrades, which this is the website to ask such questions. I’m stuck between 2G and 4G all of the time here in Mississippi. T-Mobile is great and cheap, I just want what everyone else wants…improved coverage.

  • James Shaggy

    The article says Tmobile has 850mhz spectrum, I dont believe they have any of that. Also, to the people who have bad TMobile coverage in your area, if they are granted approval to but MetroPCS then you could quite possibly be seeing improved coverage and faster speeds. Oh yea, cant forget about the rumors of TMobile buying Leap/Crickett.

    • They do have 850mhz spectrum, they don’t deploy anything but 2G Edge on it however. This is why you can pop a tmobile sim into an AT&T phone and still make calls.

      • Fabian Cortez

        That is incorrect. They have very few 850 MHz spectrum from the SunCom acquisition: “CMA629 – South Carolina 5 – Georgetown.”

        Additionally, the reason you can pop in a T-Mobile SIM card into an AT&T phone and still make calls is due to the fact that both AT&T and T-Mobile use 1900 MHz (PCS) for GSM/GPRS/EDGE. Not because of your made up answer lol.

        With the refarm going on, now UMTS/HSPA (3G broadband) is supported.

        • Zacamandapio

          And because the phones are Quad Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE compatible.

      • Get_at_Me

        Last i checked, TMO has very little 850mhz spectrum (south east). I assume they picked this up in the Suncom acquistion several years ago. Everything else is 1900mhz PCS & 1700/2100 AWS.

  • jt

    I moved from a 4g market to a 2g market. I don’t even think you can call it 2g, most of the time the data times out. Its too slow to even try to do a speed test. I’ve called on a monthly basis and even went into the local T-Mob store. They always say “4g is coming next month.” This has been going on since last summer. What really aggravates me how the store in town advertises nationwide 4g but its not available within 80 miles of here.

  • seanmao858

    I’m in San Diego. Still no 3G on 1900MHz. I’m in San Diego (Mira Mesa area) so it’s not like im on the outskirts or in the boonies. T-Mobile… I’m still waiting patiently… my contract is over come August 6th. I will have to re-evaluate my family’s needs in regards to cell coverage and device selection on that date. As much $$$ as I’m saving on the value plan, I’m starting to feel like it’s not worth the money saved.

    Lots of MVNOs out there giving approximately $50 talk text and data plans. T-Mobile still has me only because the 5GB value plan includes mobile hotspot / tethering.

    • pholocity

      please blame your local government on this. They are one of the MOST DIFFICULT jurisdiction to deal with. they want special permits for everything. you want to paint it? let us review that…and it goes on and on

  • Aurizen

    I live in Philadelphia and I get Edge a lot, and in my house is always 3g/4g but inside my house is always E, any idea when this will improve?

    • jt

      If you call T-Mob and bother them they might offer you a signal booster. It would get the 3g/4g in your house.

      • Aurizen

        Oh, I heard about that, isnt that a 2 year contract though?

  • TMoFan

    I went from 4G to EDGE since June 2012. Since my G2 didn’t have 1900 I thought that was the problem but I get the same ol EDGE with my GS3. I wish I new the real reason why, but for now I take full advantage of 4G at work where I average 14 down.

    Bring back my 4G Tmo! You had it here before!

  • David as an addendum can you add what devices currently should see benefits in speed and service from the 1900mhz refarm? Iphone 4s (and newer) should benefit, but what about T-mobile devices like the S3/Note2/Sensation/S2 etc?

    • Seems like newer phones made in the last year will benefit, but older phones like the sensation and G2x will not.

  • JJ Clark

    My coverage still sucks in Seattle.

    • jay_max

      Where are you in Seattle? I’ve experienced zero coverage issues here.

      • JJ Clark

        Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and its especially bad in Kirkland. Last night I was at Sun Liquor on Pike and had zero bars on my GS3.

        • jay_max

          I frequent QA and CH and have no issues on my 8x (except at Linda’s which seems to be a cell-free bubble). I had plenty of coverage issues with my old MT4G. I wonder what is going on.

        • JJ Clark

          Yeah, I have no idea. My friend just paid his ETF and got a GS3 on VZ and has seen a huge improvement. Just sucks because I am in sales and all around town all day. I need my phone to be reliable.

      • JJ Clark

        However, when I lived in Chicago, I had zero issues. Even living downtown, it was blazing fast.

  • Jay

    The one thing that apparently will never be fixed is building penetration

  • EAS

    So David, what I’m wondering is, if they are now moving to upgrade towers to LTE, are they going to continue to refarm the 2G networks in locations that have not yet switched from EDGE to 3G, or are the locations that have been refarmed the only locations that are going to be? I live in Tallahassee, FL and have been praying to see the switch one of these days but have had no luck…is it hopeless? Or might the refarm still come?

  • philyew

    David, there are a couple of the questions that I know a few people would like your help in getting answered on this topic:

    a) On what basis does TM determine it is OK to announce that a modernized market is “live”?

    A consistent observation from customers in many of the announced markets is that 3G/HSPA+ coverage on PCS remains sporadic in those areas that currently serve HSPA+ on the AWS band.

    Back last year, I saw comments from TM insiders here that they believed TM would announce markets when 80% of the towers in that market were modernized, but clear evidence from markets like Houston and Boston makes a mockery of that expectation.

    So we would like someone with a little bit of inside “edge” to ask the question:

    At what level of coverage does TM think it’s acceptable to tell their customers that their market is modernized?

    b) Since the modernization program adding 3G/HSPA+ services on the PCS band will now run right into 2014 (i.e. only 200 million POPs are due to be offered modernized service by the end of this year), while TM are planning to start selling Apple products directly long before then, the following question is also necessary:

    What plans do TM have for publishing more meaningful coverage maps that give a realistic view of 3G/HSPA+ service for customers with phones that can’t make use of ANY 3G/4G service until the modernization in their area has been completed?

    If you can get a serious and direct answer to those questions, I think a lot of people would be grateful to you, David.

    • Nearmsp

      David – I back philyew 100%. No reporter has asked Neville Ray to put up a 3G coverage map. How can they advertise and ask AT&T consumers to bring their iPhones to T-mobile when they do not provide any coverage maps? T-mobile shamelessly gives the rootmetrics link for 3G coverage. Each person that switches from AT&T to T-mobile and finds Edge coverage and no service areas, posts at least 10 negative posts on different forums creating a huge negative advertisement for T-mobile. Why is T-mobile competing with Sprint to head to the bottom? Why does not T-mobile become honest with its own customers or providing 3G 1900 Mhz coverage maps?

      • It’s my understanding that markets are announced as “live” when 75% of the tower work has been completed in that area. As for the coverage maps, that I honestly don’t know. I’ve complained about the maps myself, clearly something must be done in the future to better differentiate coverage areas. I’ll get something worked up for an editorial.

        • Nearmsp

          thanks!

        • philyew

          Thanks, David! Much appreciated.

        • Mark

          David, I doubt that they’ll do a better job with the coverage maps seeing as they made them more vague sometime in the past year. They used to differentiate between 3G and 4G and give signal-strength variations for 3G; now it’s just an indicator of 3G or 4G with no sign of which is where. Good luck with your advocacy, though!

        • They still do give signal strength variations. You have to click on the location to actually see it, though.

  • Bud

    Very spotty 3G service in New York City

    • Melvin

      I’m in nyc and i always have hspa+ wherever i go.

  • ncmacasl

    What about us EDGE-ONLY areas??? When will we get 3G/4G????

    • doubleatheman

      Sadly Tmoible has not shown any intrest in blanketing the country with HSPA, They focus on In city speeds. I know EDGE sucks, but its good enough for when I travel. Most of the cities I work or live in have 4G, I only see Edge when I am traveling.

      If your on Tmobile and live in a city that has EDGE only, I feel your pain.

      • jay_max

        That’s simply not true. If you pay attention to their coverage maps, TMO is deploying HSPA+ coverage to many smaller cities and rural areas.

        • philyew

          Whatever their maps say, TM state that their 4G network reaches “over 220 million” POPs. That’s means that almost a third of the population don’t get better than 2G.

          Now I perfectly understand why there is such a shortfall: the market density in many of the rural service areas is simply not great enough to support fully fledged service from multiple carriers and whoever got there first (usually Verizon) pretty much has the market locked up.

          Infrastructure sharing offers the only real hope of seeing more even, comprehensive coverage across the entire country.

          Until the day that happens, there is nothing in TM’s published modernization schedule that indicates an early start on their own dollar. However, there is another $2.6 billion set aside for network modernization starting in 2014 so maybe there are some plans for improvements outside the Metro Statistical Areas where TM’s current revenue comes from, and which represent their best areas for future growth.

        • doubleatheman

          They may deploy HSPA+ to areas that are in need of new towers now, but EXISTING EDGE areas are the ones that seem to be stuck on EDGE with no plan to change.

        • jay_max

          Again, not true. Pay attention to the expanding HSPA+ areas on their maps. Texas panhandle, Eastern New Mexico, and southeast Missouri are perfect examples. Those were all 2G little more than a year ago.

        • Bill Berry

          And it’s a shame too…because that’s my situation but they don’t mind charging us for the high speed data; my point being I use to have the $5.99 plan and not one damn thing has changed out where we live…it’s been 2G since data began at $2.99 and those were the unlimited days.

      • Bill Berry

        You can say what you want about AT&T…they have HSPA in places T-Mobile will never upgrade. I was at a kiosk today and the Auburn-Opelika area will only have refarmed 1900 in the exact same places they have 3G now which is ridiculous when you think AT&T has HSPA up and down the interstate where we live but not T-Mobile; it’s 2G the moment you leave town…they sure don’t mind charging us for 3G though

    • rfgenerator

      EDGE only? We have significant towns and cities here in Central Massachusetts that are still GPRS, not even EDGE.

    • Baxter DeBerry

      I have only 1G on my iphone under T-Mobile.. id be happy with edge haha

  • w

    what about hawaii :)

  • LOV3BAS3DCUBANO

    I’m in Queens, one of the five boroughs in NYC, and the signal is strong, always get the H never drops to 3G or Edge like it used to this time last year. T-Mobile is doing good.

  • thegeeknme

    outside my office, a bit south of seattle area, I was getting 3-4 bars, pulling about 4-6 mbs with little to zero coverage inside (‘cept for our buildings edge repeater)… Monday and Tuesday the 4G signal (or anything) was basically gone… I was ’bout ready to call and log a service request for our area when I looked up form the freeway heading home and saw a crane lifting a new antenna array to a tower (yay!)… next day I have better in-building coverage and i’m pulling 7-8 mbs… happy customer ;-) patience will be required for few months…

    • doubleatheman

      Its always exciting/funny when your all pissed off at your network, its not working and everything is slow, and then you look up to see people working on the tower! (Happened to me when I was on AT&T, they were upgrading to 3G at the time.)

    • gsm1900

      Sorry, it takes up to 18 months to build a tower. there is no possible way we are putting up a tower one day and it is live the next. That being said, UMTS networks “breath”… meaning when they get busy, the range decreases. Its possible the network was loaded up so the footprint declined to the point you had no coverage, and the next day it was clearer so you had better coverage.

      • doubleatheman

        I had Edge for years prior, I see Guys up on a tower less than a mile from my house… the next day I have 3G….. (This was on AT&T a few years ago)

      • Christopher J Sacra

        He said 3 days to UPGRADE a tower, not build a new one, and since UMTS isn’t a living object, it can’t have “breath.” Maybe you meant “breadth,” meaning how broad a signal is?

        • TMOLOYAL

          No he meant breath as in inhale and exhale. WCDMA footprint absolutely does expand and contract depending on the traffic load of a particular site. It is caused by the network having to lower the power output of a site as it loads up with traffic to reduce the amount of interference or noise on the system. Do a Google search on WCDMA breathing and there is about 85,000 results.

        • RO

          Ah – you are all leaving off the trailing “e” – breathE for the verb, breath for the noun – “breathe your last breath”, to borrow a somber phrase.

      • vrm

        EDGE->HSPA->HSPA+ and so on is an easier transition. EDGE/HSPA->LTE is a bigger transition (new tower equipment etc).

        With each new generation iteration, both HSPA and LTE get faster. Most of the world (esp Europe) has HSPA and EDGE; US is the largest LTE market.

      • Hesster

        Most of that time is spent searching for suitable sites, buying or leasing the property, wrangling with permits and dealing with zoning restrictions. The actual construction process doesn’t take nearly that long.

      • Michael

        yes it takes that long to build a tower, but t-mobile is not just building towers from scratch, the are using/renting existing towers/poles/buildings/etc to add antennas, they are also re-configuring 1900 towers to provide 4g service. so basically they are also utilizing existing antennas for the upgrade that’s why is is possible to come up with a 4G coverage within weeks.

    • Aurizen

      how do you ” call and log a service request” I would love to do that for my area.

      • brian90

        Call Tmobile and tell them you WANT to log a service request. You have to have an actual outage or service/coverage problem though.

        • Aurizen

          oh ok thanks, my problem has been fixed i complained to Neville and he fixed it lol.

  • doubleatheman

    When the San Francisco “North” expansion turned on about a month and a half ago, my 4G went from ~10mbps to ~15mbps (This is a consistant average in most areas of my county.)

    Also most areas where I would drop a 4G signal inside, now does not. (Albit the signal is very very week, but it does exist when I am inside larger buildings now.)

    Side effect: When I fall back onto EDGE signal in my city now, its horribly slow. I assume this is from other phones that are in 4G dead pockets in my town, and older original iphones on the network.

  • DimSuMr

    To my knowledge they do not have 850MHz

    1700/2100 is known as the AWS Band (UMTS IV) (it is used for LTE by others, but 3G/4G for Tmo and eventually for LTE as well) It implies the Uplink/Downlink frequency used. This is why the Iphone did not work on Tmo 3G/4G. The iphone only supported PCS 3G and not AWS 3G.

    1900MHz is known as the PCS Band (here both Uplink and Downlink are in the 1900 MHz range). This is used currently for their GSM network. As traffic has migrated to 3G/4G the unused spectrum is being refarmed to deploy 3G/4G on that frequency to support phones like the iphone and to also begin to offload AWS back to PCS so that they can free up spectrum on AWS for LTE.

    In order for all this to take place, they are installing new hardware that supports 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS-PCS), LTE (AWS).

    It truly is a net gain/benefit and sets up an infrastructure capable of outperforming current LTE deployed by other carriers.

    The end!

    • 21stNow

      2G service goes over the 850MHz band.

      • Wrong. There are some parts of the country where tmobile indeed has 850mhz. This is mostly in no man’s land like Montana and north/south Dakota. Very small footprint.

        • There is exactly one place in the entire country where T-Mobile has 850MHz. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

        • Bill Berry

          Lafayette, AL and if any of you think Verizon Wireless doesn’t have GSM pay Alexander City, AL a visit; remember Unicell?

        • Jon

          T-Mobile has a single 850mhz license that covers the area around Myrtle Beach, SC.

          They don’t use the 850 band – not for 2g, 3g, or 4g.

        • Dear God of Tmo News, your not the God I serve so I feel comfortable correcting you. Tmo has GPRS service is places across America. The footprint is very small, but it exist. I know this because I’ve had to troubleshoot customers phone and part of the TS script was check to see if they were in a 850mhz frequency. If they were, then we had to do a different level of TS. Now, this was pre SunCom merger, so I’m unsure as to what bands were acquired during that deal.

        • 21stNow

          I wasn’t saying that all 2G service is on the 850MHz band, but there is some T-Mobile 2G service that uses that band. So the comment is not “Wrong”.

    • Bill Berry

      They have GSM 850 on GPRS and 2G. T-Mobile has no intention on turning every 2G tower to high speed; not where I live anyway; it’s Wi-FI or snails crawling.

  • Tim Lytle

    Lets make this clear… service in Tampa is so spotty that you only get 3G in certain places. For instance I travel on i-275 every day and I get 3G but I travel on a main road (Dale Mabry) and the entire time you only get 2G. They are not very efficient with the network modernization in Tampa/St. Pete. I only hope T-Mobile can fix this issue before they release the iPhone or they are going to have some unhappy customers!

    • jon

      Thats a flat out lie. Im typing this from north dale mabry, WITH full bars of 4g on my galaxy note 2. I live on hwy 54 (north of tampa for those not familiar with tampa) and get great data even out there. Fact is tampa has great 4g data coverage. I will admit there were bumps in the road while the refarm was happening in the land o lakes/odessa area. I had no data for like a weeks span twice in two months. Bit since the refarm is complete it has been smooth sailing.

      • philyew

        I think maybe Tim is talking about 4G services on the PCS band and his experience may be based on a device that doesn’t support 4G on AWS, unlike the Note 2.

      • Tim Lytle

        Actually it’s not a lie. Tmobile has great 3G and 4G service in Tampa on T-Mobile branded phones but I’m using an iPhone 4S and the 3G is terrible and spotty. My comment was referring to using iPhones on T-Mobile.

  • ZZTop

    Here’s a hand map for all the visual people, is has users who report where they have coverage of the refarmed network in their cities.

    http://www.airportal.de/#

  • zx6guy

    If EDGE = 2G and HSPA+ = 4 (faux) G then wth is 3g on tmobile?

    • philyew

      UMTS with a D/L speed up to 384kbps.

      • Actually, it looks like HSPA+ with sustained speeds below 15Mbps is now considered 3G. My market is officially HSPA+21, but the coverage map calls it 3G because the average speed tops out at 10Mbps. Occasionally, I peak out at 14Mbps, though. And this is with a DC-HSPA phone (SGS3), so I know it supports higher speeds.

        3G/4G difference is all about backhaul now. If the backhaul can’t be made good enough for T-Mobile, then it’s a 3G market.

        • philyew

          What coverage map are you looking at? The 3G/4G map on the TM site doesn’t seem to distinguish between signal type, just signal strength.

          I’m in a top 5 market, with the nearest tower providing HSPA+ 21 and UMTS signal and the color coding says the signal at my home is “Very Strong”, which is an exaggeration, it’s more like “Satisfactory” on my SGS3. The speed test runs at around 7Mbps. I’ve occasionally seen higher, but not often.

          The odd thing is that there is one of TM’s own towers just over a mile away to which I never seem to connect. All the signal detection tools I can find, such as OpenSignal and Network Signal Info, tell me I’m connected to a tower where one doesn’t appear to exist. Maybe the database they use has the wrong coordinates. Signal Finder goes a step further and lists a cluster of Cell IDs in the vicinity of the “ghost” tower. almost as though it is detecting signal boosters. Is that possible?

          Anyway, I don’t see anything that distinguishes between 3G and 4G in the way you describe.

        • When you zoom all the way in to the street level (max zoom in), clicking on coverage spots on the maps will show a pop up telling you what the area is classified as.
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BCgRDu_CMAAezrA.png:large

        • philyew

          Thanks for that, Conan. I took the footnote “If the icon is grey, reliable service may not be available” literally to mean that the area might be served by 4G, but it isn’t necessarily great.

          Based on the color coding on the popup, however, they still classify all my area as 4G, even though I’ve never seen HSPA+ 42 reported from any tower in the surrounding area, and I’ve only once ever got a speed test result over 10mbps.

        • The graying is to indicate quality may not be great for the task icon that is grayed out, but on the 3G/4G marker, it’s just classification.

          Don’t forget that my market (Starkville, MS) was fully upgraded in December, and reclassified only last month. It might be a new thing.

        • philyew

          I think they could do better with making their color coding consistent, if that is the case ;-)

          For example, in my area the 4G symbol is magenta, but the 3G is gray. I’m sure that doesn’t mean there is no 3G service – I get it way too much of it for that to be the case. ;-(

          As an aside, since I mentioned that I have only seen 10mbps+ on one occasion, it has started to show up consistently in the 9-12mbps range. I think they must have just completed their modernization work in the area.

    • Zacamandapio

      HSDPA. Areas that have not been upgraded to HSPA+.

  • Freak4Dell

    The speeds are good, but I’m getting a lot of data drops. I eventually just gave up and set my phone to do EDGE only. At least the connection is steady that way, even if it is slow. Hopefully T-Mobile can do something about the drops and make HSPA+ on PCS as stable as it is on AWS.

  • Ok, lets get this thing straight here. Say, I have a Galaxy Note. Will this benefit me at all? I am hoping it will improve my indoor coverage. But who knows.

  • Rey

    I live in Modesto, CA and I get close to 15 MB Per second.. Which is way faster than Sprint, and around the same as my Verizon LTE.. The only problem is T-Mobile’s coverage

  • T-Mobile needs more 3G coverage in small towns. Omg i hate 2G

    • I live in a big town (Suburban Los Angeles) and sometimes I’d be thrilled to get even 2G.

    • Baxter DeBerry

      you think that’s bad, im only getting 1G

    • RO

      Starting to see some of the “E” signals on my Dell Streak 5 (factory unlocked, so that seems to mean it was meant for AT&T 1900 Mhz?) change to “H” more often around Raleigh-Durham, NC – would think it would rate higher than Richmond, VA in population terms/priority, but maybe not TMo subscribers.

      Loving it when I do see the “H”. ;-}

  • czaplin

    Does anybody else in Chicago 60639 have weak 4G signal? I have Nexus 4 and the signal drops from 1 bar to zero bars almost everywhere in that area. 60634 seems to be pretty good.

  • and here i am still sitting here with edge watching another tmobile commercial telling me how great and how much area tmobile’s 4g covers….

    • bakgwailo

      Did you not look at the coverage map before you signed up ?

      • Chris

        maybe he watched the commercial as well?

        • bakgwailo

          That didn’t really make sense – he was complaining about all of the commercials talking about how great/large their 4G coverage is because he is on Edge. I simply stated if he wanted 4G, didn’t he at least look at the coverage map and see there was no 4G at his location…

        • Chris

          ahaha, yeah, I got what you were saying, I just said, maybe he just saw a commercial and signed up without looking at the coverage map. lol

        • jagster

          “I just said, maybe he just saw a commercial and signed up without looking at the coverage map”

          Odd, we though you said “maybe he watched the commercial *as well*?”

  • I hope NYC doesn’t have to wait too long for LTE coverage.

  • Winski

    David, I know you’re trying like a mad-man to keep up with the movement of T-Mumble as they try to con their way across the nation, but it’s getting REAL old, day-after-day having to listen to this total blanket of BS as the blistering 2G EDGE data speed just keeps creeping along for us. Even in areas where they have indicated a ‘modernization’ has occurred – it’s A LIE!!!

    I’ve been working and waiting for their network upgrade here in SoCal for a number of years now, and as they’ve spun story after story, fired and re-hired CEO’s, CTO’s, CMO’s and all levels of staff, one thing remains constant. THEIR NETWORK PERFORMANCE SUCKS !!!!!

    FIX IT !!!!!

    • just me

      1) As much as loyalty is awesome, why have you waited “a number of years” if it’s this frustrating for you? Not even trying to be a smart ass, but the level of frustration in your post really makes me wonder why you’d continue to stay with T-Mobile. Do you like being angry?

      2) The network modernization is for areas that already have HSPA+. The idea behind it is to free up from AWS spectrum for LTE by offloading some HSPA+ users onto the 1900 band in areas where 2G use is minimal. New areas getting HSPA+ coverage is very unlikely to happen anytime soon. I’m basing this on the idea that if T-Mobile were planning HSPA+ expansion, I’m fairly certain they’d be talking about it at least as a footnote to their LTE buildout. If you’re in an area that is EDGE-only and you’re not anywhere near AWS HSPA+ coverage, I would advise you not to expect HSPA+ anytime in 2013. Not saying I’m an expert or know something everyone else doesn’t, just basing this on my observations and educated speculation.

      2) You do realize that screaming at David to fix it isn’t going to get it fixed, right?

      • Winski

        I DO know David’s the messanger and my rage is never directed at him… My rage is directed at the COLASSAL CLOWN SHOW that T-Mumble pretends to be. And you wonder, and rightfully so, about why I keep my rage specific to T-Mumble? It turns out that it’s by design… It’s based on the laws of diminishing returns …. If I screamed at AT&T, I’d get even less attention than I do now so for me, Randall floating off the top of the Chrysler building doesn’t really matter to me…. So, if I scream load enogh at the pretender and there actually ANY movement then by comparison, I got a desk moved !!!

        I really do it because slamming folks that have all the right answers basically uncovered for them by others plowing the field first, misspending mountains of cash to correct the problem, one would believe that if you were the least bit crafty you would watch that process and by-pass all the bad parts instead of repeating them… Sometimes it works, others…eh, not so much….

        I like seeing the under-dog get an advantage occasionally. It’s hard in this carrier game cause of all the idiotic rules; the insane technical issues, the bloated, INSANELY ARCHANE LEGAL ISSUES, and constant whining of greedy carrier executives who care about NOTHING but the next million-dollar personal payday…. All scum…

  • Wilma Flintstone

    So anybody know if those gorgeous new colors for the Galaxy Note 2 are coming to Tmobile US? I’m referring to the Amber Brown and Ruby Wine colors

    • Verizonthunder

      Just count your luck that t-mobile even offer’s the note 2 and with LTE built in when software update unlock it’s full potential

      • Wilma Flintstone

        True. Very good point.

  • Joe

    Will T-Mobile’s LTE network be compatible with AT&T LTE devices?

    • philyew

      If the device fully supports LTE band IV (1700/2100), then yes. Example being the AT&T model of the iPhone 5.

    • All AT&T LTE devices are 100% compatible with T-Mobile’s LTE network.

      • Brian90

        NO, they are not. If they use the 2100 and 1900 they are fine. The 1700 band is exclusive to Tmobile USA.

        • Err… You are wrong on this. Every single AT&T LTE device comes with AWS LTE support. There is no network in the entire country that supports the “2100” band, as that overlaps with our “1900” band. The “1700” band is currently exclusively used by T-Mobile for LTE, but AT&T devices support it as part of AT&T’s device requirements (since AT&T thought it was going to get all of T-Mobile’s AWS spectrum when it began deploying LTE).

          If you go to AT&T’s website and look at the LTE bands supported, it’ll say that “bands 4 and 17” are supported. “Band 4” is known as AWS. That’s the band T-Mobile is deploying LTE on.

          Asia is deploying it on “band 1”, which is known as the “2100” band. Sprint is deploying on “band 25”, which is an extended (slightly incompatible) version of “1900” band. Verizon currently has “band 13” deployed (which is their special 700MHz spectrum), and will start deploying LTE on “band 4” (the same “1700” band T-Mobile uses for HSPA+ and LTE).

          AT&T currently has “band 17” deployed (which is their 700MHz spectrum), and will deploy on “band 2” (the same “1900” band T-Mobile is using for HSPA+), “band 4” (the same “1700” band T-Mobile uses for HSPA+ and LTE), and “band 5” (the “850” band).

          Right now, the only carrier screwed for device interoperability of the Big 4 is Sprint. If you have or are considering Sprint, remember that you’ll be in the same position that T-Mobile was for the last five years. That means that Sprint will have a hard time getting good devices, and the cost for each device will go up even more. When Sprint begins using “band 26” (their ESMR spectrum), the cost of service and devices will shoot through the roof.

        • Baxter DeBerry

          but with sprint being bought out by Softbank.. maybe they still have a chance

        • Not necessarily. SoftBank is a WCDMA+LTE carrier, whereas Sprint is a CDMA2000+LTE carrier. SoftBank also uses different frequencies over Sprint. It’s more like the Vodafone/Verizon thing, where Verizon Wireless has to grow on its own to make its voice heard.

          Sprint will have a hard time doing that.

  • wicked*1

    I have a 4s and just noticed I’m boucing between E and 3g. That’s the first time I’ve seen this in San Francisco.

  • Whiskers

    Ohio still blows chunks in most places 15 minutes outside of Cleveland,Columbus,and Cincinnati . You gets stuck on Edge for data even if you have a 3G phone.
    The refarming 1900 project is a total joke. I had to park my i4s i use on one of my three lines because the data speeds were just pathetic .
    My only hope will be the LTE service when they ever get that released. Hopefully they don’t drag that out as well.

    • HRoth-Gar

      Having just come back from a month’s trip to Dayton I can tell you that I never once had an issue with reception, save for my one day-trip up to Cedar Point, and even then when I wasn’t out in the boonies (there were some scary truck stops), I had decent reception using both the One S and the Vibrant.

    • That area is managed by Cincinnati Bell Wireless, as far as I knew.

  • TBN27

    I have noticed the sugnal strength improvements as much as it is week, i was able to hold a conversation in the ekvator in my apartment building clearly where as before, it would just drop the call. In my apartment itself, 4G strength and speeds have gone up and are constant unlike before. Even at work it is the same result.

  • jaxgrim

    There are also some 2G coverage improvements included in this. In the old network, you have a radio at the bottom of the tower with a coax cable going to the antenna up top. With modernization, the radios are up top with the antenna. This reduces signal loss due to the coax connection giving a stronger signal.

  • M42

    I take issue with two points in the article. First, is the timeline. T-Mobile as recent as last year was promising to have the “refarm” completed by year end (2012). It looks like they’re just beginning. Also, I do not believe 90% of the traffic is on 4G. I travel extensively and am in a lot of large metro areas and I’m on 2G 85-90% of the time. And I have a new phone with all the bans. This is just another one of T-Mobile’s big fat lies. If you watch their ads on tv and look at the map they show you get the impression they have mostly 4G everywhere. They don’t. I seriously believe that’s why they showcase Carly, so nobody will really pay attention to their bullsh!t maps.

    • philyew

      It was certainly marketing spin last year when they were talking about getting the refarm done by the end of 2012.

      They met that target…but didn’t start elaborating until the fall that the “refarm” was simply the required step of carving out spectrum in the PCS band, which could be re-assigned to 3G/HSPA+ use. The real work of the modernization program – installing new equipment on each of the towers in the project scope – was certainly going on, but would not be finished until into 2014. It wasn’t until the Capital Markets Day presentation in December that they revealed how long the program was actually going to run.

      You may be confusing user-hours accessing the network with traffic. Clearly even if you spend 85-90% of the time on the 2G network, the volume of traffic which is transacted will still not add up to the amount used in just a few minutes when working with average download speeds in excess of 5mbps.

      I don’t know which large metro areas you are talking about, but if you have a device which handles 4G on the AWS band then you should get 4G most of the time in the most populated areas of the top 100 markets.

    • Hesster

      They never promised to have the refarm done by the end of the year. They only said it would be active in a large number of markets.

      • philyew

        They finished the “refarm” by the end of the year. CTO, Neville Ray, commented back in November at the 4G World Trade Show that they had completed “95 percent of the refarming of its 1900MHz spectrum for HSPA+, [and] will launch a series of additional markets before years-end.”.

        Unfortunately, what was meant by “refarm” was not what most interested parties had assumed it to be throughout much of last year – not what you yourself assume it means. The refarm was/is in fact just the act of carving out spectrum in the PCS band to service 3G/HSPA+.

        The actual work of modernizing the towers to make this meaningful is not going to be fully completed until 2014, according to the targets specified by the CEO and CTO at the Capital Markets Day presentation in December: 170 million POPs by mid-year, 200 million POPs by year-end…leaving 20+ million POPs currently covered by 3G/HSPA+ on the AWS band yet to receive similar coverage on PCS.

        Unquestionably, the statements made in the early part of the year deliberately fostered the illusion that the modernization project would be substantially completed by the end of 2012. TM needed some really positive market buzz, and their Reinvigorated Challenger Strategy certainly helped with that objective.

        What it didn’t help was all those folks who bought into the BYOD marketing and the idea that the network would be ready for the iPhone by Q4 2012.

        Now TM are talking about starting to sell Apple products directly, probably before mid-year, but – according to announced targets – their current 3G/HSPA+ network footprint still won’t be more than 75% ready for the iPhone at that time, and there will be another 95 million POPs who have no foreseeable prospect of being able to get more than 2G service in their home markets.

        TM may have made no promises, as such, but they did an awful lot of smoke-blowing between the spring and fall of 2012.

    • Where’s my 3G

      >> “Also, I do not believe 90% of the traffic is on 4G. I travel extensively and am in a lot of large metro areas and I’m on 2G 85-90% of the time.”

      I think this is basically lying through statistics. They didn’t say “85-90%” of users or connections but “traffic.” The fact is that 2g is so damn slow that one person in one minute can download more data (“traffic”) on a 4G connection than a dozen people can over 2g in a full day.

    • Rob

      I totally agree. Edge needs to go. T-mobile is leaving a huge chunk of the population in the dark ages. What gives!

    • Bill Berry

      They are not refarming every 2G tower…they are only refarming what currently is 3G for their device hardware. If you’re using an iPhone where you have 2G now, you’re not likely to get 3G, HSPA+ at all.

  • Danny Bruce

    My question is: Will TMO’s entire network be updated to 1900mhz so that ATT phones will run at full speed? I live in Gadsden, AL – We have 4G with TMO phones, but when will we get the 1900 band?

  • Maxsilver

    I wish they would do something with HSPA+ 21 markets.

    We got completely skipped in the HSPA+ 42 upgrade, and are now getting skipped in the PCS HSPA+ upgrade round too.

    Our market has 40mhz of PCS, and 30mhz of AWS (20mhz T-Mobile initially bought, 10mhz it got from the AT&T merger breakup, and another 10mhz they will soon get if MetroPCS merger goes through)

    They have more spectrum here than AT&T or MetroPCS, and both of those carriers offer full, blanket LTE everywhere for miles. T-Mobile only has HSPA+ 21, only in spotty areas, and only in the city (none of the suburbs or freeways are covered)

    I understand why they might ignore EDGE areas that are rural or underpopulated, but I live in a city of one million people and we’ve been skipped for the last two network upgrades.

    Come on, T-Mobile. Help us out here!

    • philyew

      If you already have HSPA+ on AWS you won’t be skipped, they just haven’t got to your towers yet. Unfortunately, the program runs on into 2014, so it will depend largely on the market you are in to predict when the modernization will come – they are broadly working from largest market downwards.

      Here is a map of the FCC markets which is the standard definition that all carriers use.

      http://www.cellularmaps.com/image/fcc_cma_lg.gif

      Here’s the list of market names to go with that map.

      http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/data/crossreferences/cmanames.xls

      The numbering system was originally based on market size, but the related POPs are now out-of-date so there are some big swings in position (e.g. Austin, TX is #75 on this list, but has grown to be #34 in terms of current market size.) Still you should be able to map your location into one of these markets and then have a rough guess of the likely timescale.

      Based on the reported sightings at the airportal site, they are still working on the top 50 markets. Those markets represent around 158 million POPs.

      They have to get to 170 million POPs by mid-year and 200 million POPs by year-end to meet their stated targets.

  • Christopher J Sacra

    I think Hampton Roads, VA should be included on your list at the end. Over the last two weeks, I’ve seen my iPad2 and iPhone4S signal change from EDGE to 3G almost everywhere – including Norfolk & Virginia Beach. When I use the Carrier Compare app, it shows my actual download speed with 3G almost 2x faster than AT&T and Verizon, and 3x faster than Sprint.

  • 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.

  • 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.