T-Mobile expanding MetroPCS LTE branding, adding 15 new markets on November 21st

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Along with all the hubbub surrounding T-Mobile’s earnings call yesterday came the news that it wasn’t only keen on expanding its own branded network, but also that of MetroPCS. In an official press release yesterday, the magenta carrier clarified its plans to launch LTE MetroPCS branding in 15 new markets on November 21st. Those markets include:

  • Albuquerque – Santa Fe, NM
  • Cincinnati – Dayton, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Denver – Colorado Springs, CO
  • El Paso, Texas – Las Cruces, NM
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Louisville – Jefferson County, KY
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • South Bend – Fort Wayne, IN
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Tulsa, OK

Once rolled out, that would see the MetroPCS hit 45 markets in total, and that’s just over 4 months after the T-Mobile and MetroPCS merger was completed.

“Back in July, we said we were on an aggressive path to being the #1 prepaid brand in the nation and we beat our own timetable by accelerating our additional expansion in 2013 – tripling our markets in less than six months,” said Tom Keys, MetroPCS COO and executive vice president. “We’ve also seen tremendous consumer response to our ‘$40, period’ offering in our new markets as consumers realize the great brand value we bring to their neighborhood coupled with the speed and coverage of T-Mobile’s advanced nationwide 4G LTE network.”

On the back of this announcement, MetroPCS’ COO, Tom Keys gave an interview to FierceWireless, and was more confident than ever of the company’s future success. Part of this was down to AT&T’s strategy, and their purchase of  Leap, and its use of the Cricket brand:

“Cricket’s problem is they operated in secondary and tertiary markets,” Keys said. He said MetroPCS has “every confidence in the world that we have the right model. The more that AT&T legitimizes this space, the better it is for us, because more people will be drawn to it, like moths to a flame.”

Now of course, all this is very good PR and marketing talk. Companies aren’t known for showing belief in their competitors’ plans. But, while T-Mobile continues on its “UNcarrier” charge and MetroPCS expansion, it’s at least moving in the right direction.

Source: T-Mobile
Interview: FierceWireless

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  • UMA_Fan

    The way you articulated this article is somewhat incorrect. MetroPCS customers already get service where Tmobile does as long as they are using a gsm handset versus their legacy CDMA ones.

    This article is more about the metropcs brand expanding in new cities with additional retail stores where they didn’t have a presence in the past.

    • yeah

      You are also somewhat incorrect as some cities such as Cincinnati don’t even have T-Mobile LTE yet so this could mean expanded service for T-Mobile in some cities.

      • Delusion_FTL

        There have been unconfirmed sightings of T-mobile testing LTE in Cincinnati in the last week or two.

        • yeah

          That’s good to know! When I called them months ago they said everything was set to go but they just had to turn it on. So unfortunately I feel like I’ve been hearing this for a while. But I am hopeful!

        • JB45

          There has been a LTE sighting around the UC area.

        • Bori

          I saw it in one of the Forums as well, the person even took a screenshot, he said he was inside of all places. Still hoping for a soon arrival

        • Stephen

          I live in West Chester area and as of 2 weeks ago, I have LTE on my Moto X around where I live. It started out weak and then this week i have full bars. I did a speedtest and went from 8mb down when I was on 4G to 25mb downnload on LTE..

    • Delusion_FTL

      So sad to get writers who know little to nothing about T-mobile.

      You are absolutely right, this is an expansion of the MetroPCS retail store markets. All Metro GSM users already have access to t-mobile’s LTE network, and in some areas they are working the other way (tmo users getting Metro LTE). Likely the author doesn’t know that metro PCS no longer sells CDMA/LTE devices, and hasn’t for some time now, they are all t-mobile (GSM) devices.

      In their earnings call they iterated that a significant amount of metro users have already migrated to GSM.

      One of T-mobile’s goals as a company is to gut crickets subscribers before ATT snags them. As such these are calculated markets for maximum damage to cricket. You’ll note they didn’t announce markets like new orleans, or seattle as cricket has no presence in these markets.

      Crickets response in these newly entered markets by Metro is to offer a small discount for auto pay, they also offered a two line 80 dollars deal, and they upped the monthly data allowance from 1GB then throttled, to 2.5

      How this announcement became an LTE announcement is just a pronouncement of issues facing this site.

      Note to the editors: Every one of your employees who post on this site should be using t-mobile. If you don’t have someone that fits, maybe you should look at hiring someone who does.

  • emcdonald75

    I feel that this expansion of Metro PCS is a waste of time, money and resources, resources that can be used to upgrade the 2G network. Metro PCS should have been folded into T-Mobile and T-Mobile could have offered their customers a free phone upgrade or a reduced price phone/mobile device upgrade to a GSM/HSPA+/LTE phone or mobile device that is compatible to T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile prices are already cheap enough to be in the same range of Metro PCS’s prices. $20 more for an expanded network is reasonable. Plus, T-Mobile could have referred individuals to Solavei to help with additional prepaid sales. Address the real issue: the 2G network upgrade!

    • fsured

      The CDMA network Metro uses will eventually be turned off but that will be a gradual process. UMA_Fan is probably correct in that T-Mobile is just expanding the Metro brand into new markets but not making changes to the CDMA network itself. It could be the Metro brand was already in these areas but not operating as a “lte” carrier and now they would be using T-Mobile.

      • turtle6988

        The new MetroPCS markets are using T-Mobiles network. Those stores are only selling phone compatible with T-Mobiles network. No new MetroPCS equipment is being installed.

        • yeah

          BUT T-Mobile doesn’t have LTE turned on in Cincinnati, Oklahoma City and Sante Fe for example so it could mean something to T-Mobile customers there.

        • yeah

          Actually I just saw that Oklahoma City does have LTE, but my point still stands.

        • Delusion_FTL

          Santa Fe should be live shortly, but regardless this is a market announcement, not a city announcement. Which is why it’s paired with Albuquerque

        • Delusion_FTL

          Also, same thing with Dayton/Cincinnati market announcement. Dayton has LTE

        • yeah

          Yeah but Cincy is WAY bigger so to lump them in and not actually have LTE is strongly overstating the truth.

    • randomnerd_number38

      I agree that upgrading the rest of the 2G areas should be a top priority, but I disagree that expanding MetroPCS’ availability is a bad thing. Its a valuable brand both for the company and for potential customers(especially individual customers who don’t want a family plan).

    • TMOTECH

      They did not build a network for metro Pcs. They are opening Metro stores in these markets and selling Metro branded T-Mobile handsets. There is no CDMA network involved. It is T-Mobile’s network. Even in the old existing Metro markets where they do have a CDMA network they are only selling GSM/HSPA/LTE Metro branded T-Mobile handsets in the metro stores.

      • emcdonald75

        I didn’t suggest that T-Mobile is building a network for Metro PCS. It takes money to expand a brand, it takes money to open new stores with another brand name and advertise for that brand. I am only suggesting that this money being used for this purpose can be used to broaden the network instead use Tmobile’s own prepaid and Solavei and already established prepaid brands as the retailers of Tmobile’s prepaid services. I would put as much money into correcting Tmobile’s weaknesses than selling those weaknesses to more people under a different brand name. The strengths of T-Mobile lies with its Uncarrier strategies. Think of Uncarrier + a true Nationwide 4G network. Uncarrier would become Unstoppable. Lol

        • randomnerd_number38

          I want the 2G network to be upgraded asap. My theory on this, though, is that more metropcs markets=more customers=more revenue=more money for network upgrades. I’m hopeful that T-Mobile will start making major progress on upgrading 2g-only areas to the new tower equipment (GSM/HSPA/LTE) in 2014-2015.

  • yeah

    T-Mobile doesn’t even have LTE in Cincinnati yet – so is this going to make that happen? That would be silly to have Metro have LTE yet T-Mobile doesn’t.

    • yeah

      I just looked on Sensorly and Cincinnati only shows 2G. Something has to shift for this to happen here.

      • yeah

        I meant it shows Metro with 2G. T-Mobile has “4g” here now. This could be good news for T-Mobile here.

        • Bori

          Let’s keep that Sensorly going, I have it working daily everywhere I go, hoping some “Purple” traces come up :-).

          I know Saturday night, well 3 am ish, my data dropped to 2G in Covington, I reset my phone I took the sim card out and it was still on 2G even in places where I get strong 4G, so something is definitely brewing.

        • Danny Lewis

          Sensorly, FTW! I was seriously shocked that T-Mobile lit up LTE in Lexington before Cincinnati. Now Louisville has it. Surely they are working on it, but I wonder why it was a lower priority.

        • yeah

          Well it has to do with the lack of spectrum from what I’ve read. Cincinnati Bell complicates it as well as having Cricket on top of ATT and TMo. That’s probably why it’s taking longer. We are surrounded by LTE – Indy, Louisville, Lexington, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland…so hopefully they will bring us some soon!

        • JB45

          http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1792144-official-T-Mobile-USA-LTE-thread/page231
          Go here and scroll down the page a little bit…i asked a guy about cincinnati spectrum and he gave a great explanation about it.

        • JB45

          “Its going to be until they completely refarm their network in Cincinnati or get more AWS spectrum. Luckily checking airportal.de there are already PCS refarming sightings so that is a good sign. Once they fine tune their PCS HSPA+ network then they can shut down the AWS HSPA+ network. Finally they can flip on the AWS LTE network which will take a much shorter time to launch compared to the refarming because all the hardware will already be in place.

          CMA 24 Cincinnati, OH Spectrum Holdings:
          10 MHz AWS E Block
          20 MHz PCS 2/3 bottom of B Block
          10 MHz PCS F Block

          Here is my thoughts on their networks plans:

          Before:
          AWS HSPA+21
          PCS GSM

          Refarm (now):
          AWS HSPA+21
          PCS HSPA+21
          PCS GSM

          Future:
          AWS 5MHz FDD LTE
          PCS HSPA+42
          PCS GSM”

          From a tmobile forum about LTE…I cant post the link

        • Bori

          Cincinnati is like the readheaded stepchild When it comes to spectrum. LOL. We barely got HSPA+ 21. I’m hoping lte does come sooner than later. Hell even parts of Bardstown KY have some LTE!

        • Danny Lewis

          If you see that Bardstown has LTE on Sensorly, you can thank me for that. We were driving through and then I see 4G so I quickly turn on Sensorly to capture as much as I could!

        • Bori

          Ahh Nice! Thanks! I need to drive down to the Monastery to purchase my Bourbon Fudge, so good to know there is some kind of coverage.

    • randomnerd_number38

      Very good question. I’d wager that this means T-Mobile’s LTE is launching in Cincinatti in late November :)
      Moving forward, MetroPCS is sharing T-Mobile’s network. There’s no way they would light up new MetroPCS coverage unless its part of an overall network upgrade that includes T-Mobile. By the end of 2015, the old MetroPCS CDMA network will be shut down and the spectrum repurposed.

      • yeah

        That would be excellent news! All of the surrounding cities have it but we have been waiting!

        • randomnerd_number38

          Got my fingers crossed for you! I think an LTE launch is likely, but there’s also a slight chance that there’s a slight error in the press release and that MetroPCS will become available in Cincinatti but with no LTE. I’m betting on the former.

        • yeah

          Thanks! We were mentioned in the initial groups but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m hoping they don’t mean Dayton and not Cincinnati because Dayton does have LTE now yet we don’t. It’s usually a little worrisome when they start grouping markets together because although we are only an hour apart they clearly have treated the markets different with the LTE launch so far.

        • JB45

          They have sightings of hspa on 1900 so it could be possible that we will be getting LTE here in Cincinnati soon.

        • yeah

          I saw that a few months ago too, but I hope it’s finally coming true!

  • Dakota

    Still confused. If you’re on Metro in an Lte market, are you on the same T-Mobile network at a lower price or still on the crappy PCS? Is Metro just the prepaid brand or are they 2 different coverage networks?

    • randomnerd_number38

      If you join MetroPCS as a new customer or purchase a new phone from MetroPCS, you’re getting a phone compatible with and operating on the same T-Mobile network. MetroPCS is a seperate brand on the same network. MetroPCS also has a CDMA network that is still operating for the 8 million customers who got service with them before the merger. In 2015 the old CDMA network will be shut down.
      EDIT: the metroPCS “expansions” are not separate coverage, they’re just offering the brand in new places on the existing Tmobile network.

    • TMOTECH

      Depends on what type of handset you have. They are only selling GSM/HSPA/LTE compatible handsets in the Metro stores now.

  • randomnerd_number38

    If I might offer up a suggestion, Mr. Bunton, the article seems to be indicating that coverage is increasing, but that is not the case- this expansion just means that customers in those cities can now purchase service under the MetroPCS brand. The coverage(that is, places you can get signal on the T-Mobile/MetroPCS network) remains the same. The possible exceptions are the cities in this list that aren’t T-Mobile LTE cities yet; this could mean that in those cities, T-Mobile is lighting up LTE. Not to belabor the point, but MetroPCS and T-Mobile coverages are one in the same except for MetroPCS customers who still have the old CDMA phones. The old CDMA network has a planned shutdown in 2015.

    Anyway, you might want to remove references to coverage and change it to availability(I.e. “T-Mobile Expanding MetroPCS *Availability* to 15 New Markets on November 21st”) for accuracy‘s sake.

    • Bori

      Right on Random, I thought the same thing when I read the article. Cincinnati does not have a lick of LTE, so my assumption is that these cities listed, that do not have LTE, will be getting it by then. Of course based on this article. One can only hope that is exactly what it means..

      • yeah

        I hope you are right!

        • Bori

          I’m hoping too!!! LOL

    • Cam Bunton

      Thanks for that. I’ve edited the article to remove any mention of coverage expansion.

  • samsavoy

    There is a MetroPCS store “coming soon” in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market of Pennsylvania. It’s empty inside but that’s what the sign says out front. Also it’s just outside of a deadzone so it should make for a great experience when people leave the store.

  • Paul

    I thought that Magenta was going to completely merge with Metro, and ditch the name. How does this plan fit into that scenario? Of course, it was an article from last year and the plan may have changed.

    • maximus1901

      THey’re keeping it as a separate brand for the low-end er . . . . lower-end.
      I personally didn’t think one could get lower-end than TMO lol.

      • dkbnyc

        Never understood how T-Mobile could be “lower end”. If by lower end you mean price, I’l give you that but for the price [or any price], my service is better than Sprint, Verizon and AT&T in NYC. Only an idiot would pay more for less service. Higher phone bills do not make better service.

        • Morton H

          I totally agree with you

  • sidekicker89

    I thought T-Mobile didn’t have enoughSpectrum to launch LTE in Cincinnati… Did they get more?

    • JB45

      CMA 24 Cincinnati, OH Spectrum Holdings:

      10 MHz AWS E Block
      20 MHz PCS 2/3 bottom of B Block
      10 MHz PCS F Block

      Before:
      AWS HSPA+21
      PCS GSM

      Refarm (now):
      AWS HSPA+21
      PCS HSPA+21
      PCS GSM

      Future:
      AWS 5MHz FDD LTE
      PCS HSPA+42
      PCS GSM

      Got this from a tmobile LTE forum

      • sidekicker89

        Future? Where are they getting this spectrum from?

        • JB45

          The before, now, and future was someone’s opinion to what might happen here in Cincinnati. It might be somewhat on point with a bunch of sightings of hspa on 1900.

        • Bori

          Just did a drive around the are with my unlocked iPhone 4, and I will say there is a whole lot of reframing that’s not listed on Aiportal getting ready to enter the info I got. I will say from Covington south to 275 and from 75 to 471 picked up 3G all the way. Good sign :-)

        • JB45

          Thats great..and yes that is a really good sign. Hopefully some type of LTE will pop up somewhere soon. I will keep mapping on sensorly and hopefully get lucky.

        • Bori

          I am going to take my Iphone to work tomorrow and do some more mapping around. I am wondering if all these shaded areas will eventually be filled in with lte once it’s deployed. If that’s the case, coverage would not be all that shabby.. I also have Sensorly on full speed, let’s hope we catch some purple soon :-)

    • fsured

      Did they get any from the purchase done in October from Cellular One? Look it up as many central cities will see improved coverage from that deal.

      • sidekicker89

        I think you mean the spectrum they bought from U.S Cellular.. Cincinnati is not one of the markets gaining spectrum.

        • fsured

          Perhaps the infrastructure needed more in depth upgrades to move a majority of spectrum from the existing 2g network to the needed 1700mhz signal. There was no 3g network ground work already in place to upgrade and transition customers from the 1700mhz signal to the refarmed 1900mhz. The plan was to use the spectrum of the 2g network and that of the 3g network (just not as much) for the LTE signal. The areas with both networks could have the 1900mhz 2g network reduce it’s capacity, upgraded to handle the HSPA+ signal, move 3g off the 1700mhz band and into the 1900mhz one, and then turn on LTE at 1700mhz. But if there was no 3g signal in the area and everyone was using 2g it would cause far worse service disruptions to the market as a whole during the upgrade. They could focus more resources into making the transfer quicker when the easier areas with both signals are completed. Follow?

          Then comes the argument that you would rather have service issues if it meant getting HSPA+/LTE. Everyone in Cincinnati that is with T-Mobile would be dependent on 2g. You may be fine with service problems for how ever long it takes but others may not when it comes to making important phone calls and they can’t get through because the network can’t handle the customer base on limited spectrum. The networks with both signals would be less impacted since customers are not utilizing the 2g network anyway.

          This is the only thing I can think of to explain how they would get the needed spectrum and take it as just a guess. I’m trying to think of a good example so I don’t repetitive or lose people reading this. Essentially the company has to take away existing service to give better service. If 100% of the spectrum is 2g and they want an effective HSPA+/LTE network, then say 90% of that 2g signal is going to disappear during that transition. This scenario to cram everyone into 10% of capacity may not have been a wise choice when the upgrades first rolled out.

          Maybe whatever process they are doing is the answer to upgrading areas with only 2g signal and your market is one of the first ones to go through the process. You would be a test subject.

    • MagicMiguel

      So does this mean regular T-Mobile users will also get LTE in Cincy or would you have to be on the MetroPCS brand to get it?

  • Trevnerdio

    So…T-Mobile hardly had service this place I was at and I checked MetroPCS’s coverage map and they had perfect LTE coverage. I couldn’t connect to it, though. So, MetroPCS gets our network but we don’t get theirs? Lame…

  • Guest

    Jorge Padin, what the freak are you talking about? Tmobile back in March of this year 2013 were the ones to have decided to go all out Non-Contract you no at all that just doesn’t seem to know whatever it is that you are talking about? Are you sure you know your facts?? Because guess what?? I was one of the main people to have known about Tmobile going all out Unleash Non-Contract type before everyone else did. Yuk dude. Sad to say such thing, but guess what buddy you are sooooooo dead WRONG WITH NO COMMON KNOWLEDGE!!!!! Tmobile were the ones that have said for themselves also me knowing personally about the whole Tmobile not acting like a Contract or Postpaid carrier anymore!!!!!!!!!! Because why?????? Because I just so happened to have known such thing. Besides I know awhole lot about Tmobile and MetroPCS, especially me knowing alot of other that work for Tmobile and MetroPCS!! I also did not have to work for Tmobile just to actually know such information. You no longer have to sign up for a contract with Tmobile just to use their services!!!!!! Why do you think they decided to no longer have their postpaid services in Walmart stores, instead have their all out Non-Contract cell services in all Target stores now, having all of their cell service powered through Target stores you ?? Know what the freak you are talking about before making assumptions. Just because so and so works for Tmobile that swears or her swears that they know everything, doesn’t mean that they are ALWAYS RIGHT WITH WHATEVER IT IS THAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tmobile once 2015 gets here is when all MetroPCS store will be transformed into all Tmobile stores. Second of all, They’re only expanding all MetroPCS stores just so that Tmobile can have more expandable stores in more areas once 2015 making it around our way. So before you start jumping my tale, know what YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!! WE CAN GO AT THIS ALL DAY!!! NOW GET LOST AND GO CRY SOMEONE A RIVER SONG!!!!!!!! YES ITS TRUE THAT METROPCS NETWORK WILL BE DECOMMISSIONED IN THE 2ND HALF OF 2015, but they are also going to be transformed under one cell company around that time which that one being TMobile. It was a reversed merger for both Tmobile and MetroPCS just to help Tmobile as a whole GO ALL OUT PUBLIC MAKING METRO GO PUBLIC TO JUST SOOO TMOBILE CAN CHANGE THEIR NAME!! THEY ARE NO LONGER OWNED UNDER THE COMPANY OUT IN GERMANY!!!! NO SENSE OR KNOWLEDGE!!!

    • jorge padin

      They are still owned by the german company its on their damn website moron

  • NoLTE4Me

    So… no Cincinnati LTE… :(

    • PulloGorko102

      If you get T-Mobile LTE in Cincy then it should work. I guess it depends what they mean by Cincy, does that include Greater Cincy (Blue Ash, Indian Hill, Mason, West Chester, Fairfield, Forest Park, Mainville, etc. etc.)?

  • PulloGorko102

    I thank T-mobile I am able to use my Nexus 5 on MetroPCS’ network and get insanely high throughput speeds (highest so far is 37 mbps dl and 16 mbps upload). If you want a screenshot or screenshots, please feel free to ask.

  • Skrill Dilly

    I work for T-Mobile corporate and YOU my friend are WRONG! Just like Sprint has Virgin and Boost, we will retain and expand and push our MetroPCS brand.

  • jorge padin

    First off, you’re way uneducated about both carriers than I thought. Just because Tmobile bought or merged with Metro PCS doesn’t mean both are prepaid. Tmobile is still a postpaid carrier and is still owned by the german company Deutsche Telekom AG. Finally, after the merger was approved, completed, and finalized tmobile appeared on NASDAQ as tmobile us. In other words, tmobile will stay as tmobile and metro pcs will stay as metro pcs, the only change that will be made is the decomissioning of metro pcs current CDMA network due to the fact that they are now transitioning to gsm technology. Do your research and don’t argue with someone who does work with the carrier in corporate they are trained to inform consumers.

  • Skrill Dilly

    I’m going to accept the fact that you are just speaking on what YOU feel because I am telling you what our actual plans are. How can you tell me what MY JOB’s plans are though? lol

    You got it man. You can have this conversation because being rude about a point against a person that’s actually there.

  • Skrill Dilly

    The fact you continue to name call and be rude shows me your level of intellect and conversational skills. I’m going to respectfully bow out of this conversation because you can’t argue with a know-it-all.