T-Mobile’s 2014 resolution? It’s got to be coverage, coverage and more coverage…

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With 2013 virtually behind us, it’s impossible for anyone in the tech industry to look at T-Mobile and not be impressed by its moves. Getting rid of the subsidy model that the industry had clung to for so long, then allowing users to upgrade virtually whenever they liked. It wasn’t so much going against the flow as it was changing the flow’s direction entirely as AT&T and Sprint tried to copy Tmo with their own, less-attractive versions of JUMP! The final icing on the cake was free international phone usage in 100 foreign countries.

The move paid off, the Uncarrier phases have kept competitors on their toes and has seen T-Mobile’s subscriber base increase at an incredible rate. Only Verizon added more users in 2013. Not bad for a company whose subscriber base is the 4th largest. Even as we stand on the brink of Uncarrier 4.0, I can’t help but feel that it isn’t enough. You can throw everything plus the kitchen sink in to offers and making the carrier “cool”, but it matters little if the substance behind it isn’t made of strong stuff.

The way I see it, 2013 was a great foundation to build on, setting Tmo up, making it appealing. What needs to happen now is focussed, driven, concentrated effort towards one thing only: Coverage.

If Tmo really wants to compete with the likes of AT&T and Verizon, it has to expand its LTE coverage. Now, we know it’s already in the works. T-Mobile’s 10+10 LTE network has reached almost all the major cities in the States. We heard that in the last conference call. T-Mobile is proud of its quick coverage rollout from 0 to over 205 million people in less than a year. 20+20 is starting to light up in a couple of locations (mainly Dallas, TX), making it even quicker. In those areas that have it, Tmo’s LTE is stupendously fast.

But getting coverage right isn’t just a matter of launching faster networks in lots of locations, it also needs quality. T-Mobile uses mostly higher frequency radio signals for its network. This is great for speed, but not so great when it comes to quality. Range isn’t as good, and it finds it difficult to get through walls and into buildings. It’s why you might notice you have full LTE coverage outdoors, but as soon as you step foot inside your office or home, it drops considerably, or completely. I’ve even heard reports from a few of you that as soon as you even drive just outside the city, LTE vanishes.

Now, there’s a good chance that people who live, work and spend 90% of their time in the LTE-covered metro areas won’t care so much. And the truth is that a large chunk of the U.S. population fits in to that category. But, for the rest of you; those who commute from more rural areas to work in the city, people who visit family out of town, and the millions of others who don’t even get a sniff at magenta-colored 4G LTE, it’s not good enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize the reality. If T-Mobile has only relatively recently been able to offer LTE, of course it’s going to focus on the more densely populated areas first. Any company in its right mind would. The reality is also that Verizon now has 95% of American residents covered with 4G LTE (over 500 markets). AT&T has 488 markets covered. T-Mobile: Around 250 markets. We could dip into  to the HSPA/HSPA+ areas or the confusion that often surrounds the two different bands operated by Tmo (1700 and 1900). But we shan’t. Everyone in the industry knows that the future of mobile is very much LTE based. HSPA and HSPA+ was – for the most part – a stop-gap, bridging between 3G and 4G (even if some carriers did want to call it 4G).

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Like I said, going from zero to 250 markets in the same calendar year is impressive by anyone’s standards. And if it continues at this break-neck pace, it could conceivably catch up with the big two by this time next year. And if it does, that’ll scare the daylights out of its competition, especially if it keeps the Simple Choice plans with unlimited 4G data, international calls, JUMP! and the rest of its great offers.

As I mentioned already, coverage quantity is only half the story. It needs depth, it needs quality. It needs lower frequency airwaves, and Tmo has the cash to buy them.

Verizon has A-block spectrum available for sale, and T-Mobile could buy it. Industry watchers frequently claim Tmo has around $3-$4 billion in reserve especially for buying more spectrum.

In other words, we all know T-Mobile needs to expand fast, and the company itself knows it too.

The big deal here is that Tmo wants to be seen as a genuine threat. It may be a lot cheaper than Verizon. But a Verizon customer will know that he/she will get great, fast coverage almost anywhere there’s civilized life. If they do fancy a change, they could switch to T-Mobile, realize it’s a bit patchy and less reliable, and happily pay a few bucks more to get better service. At least, that would be my mentality. The fact that T-Mobile’s plans no longer tie customers in also makes it easier to leave. All they’d need to do is sell their phone, pay off the EIP and they’re free to switch back.

Offers are great for getting people on to the network. It needs the coverage to make those customers stick.

One thing we may not like to consider for the forthcoming year is a buyout or merger of some kind. Two companies frequently rumored to be in the frame for buying Deutsche Telekom’s controlling share in the company are Dish Network and Softbank (the Japanese company that owns Sprint). DT was happy to accept an offer of around $40 billion a couple of years back for its US network operator. So it clearly doesn’t feel too precious about T-Mobile US, regardless of what we may feel about it. The figure being quoted this time out is around $20 billion.

Personally, I’m not convinced that any sale is going to go through, but if there is one, I’d much rather it was Dish than Sprint.

In the modern market, in the US and the Western world, communications packages are all about bundles. Having home and mobile telecommunications and entertainment lumped together in one deal. Dish Network is very much the “Uncarrier” of the TV world, offering Satellite TV and the Hopper set-top box to free people from their cable companies and enable them to skip advertisements. A marriage between Dish and Tmo could be a match made in heaven. It’d give Tmo the opportunity to expand in to people’s homes.

With Softbank, it’s hard to see the benefits. Sprint hasn’t exactly taken off since the Japanese carrier took over. It would certainly seem much more like  a “hey, look what we own” move from Softbank’s perspective, more than a strategic purchase to expand T-Mobile’s reputation.

I’ll be skeptical of any buy-out until anything is announced officially.

All in all, 2014 has an opportunity for T-Mobile to show that 2013 wasn’t just a one-hit wonder. It’s a chance to show it means serious business, and that it’s competing for the long-haul. Another year of sustained growth (both in subscribers and coverage) would see magenta positioned as AT&T’s biggest threat.

What do you want to see from T-Mobile in 2014?

These are all just my thoughts for 2014. There’s little else T-Mobile can do to shake-up the industry. But to compete with the big guns, it needs to match them for coverage in both quality and quantity.

 

 

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  • Aaron Davis

    There are a lot of areas in southeast Minnesota that lack t-mobile coverage of ANY sort, and Verizon ends up dominating this market because of their solid voice coverage. It doesn’t matter how good the data speed is if you can’t even call a tow truck to pull you out of the ditch.

  • Jay

    Would love to see Carly back for 2014

  • T-Mobile Cares

    So little knowledge, so many comments and ideas. Folks, the idea behind our roll-out is to provide the majority of our customer base with the best overall service now and work our way out to the areas with lower customers served. This makes fundamental sense and fiscal sense. We still have allot of work to do. Once we have rolled out LTE we then need to optimize those towers to seve those areas with the widest spectrum they can provide. We ask that you bear with us. We have made huge strides over the past year and are far from done. We appreciate all of our customers and only care to provide you with the best quality services and customer support the industry has ever seen. We are a work in progress and continue daily to realize that commitment to you.

    • GinaDee

      Thanks for writing in.

      I believe that current and future customers would love to see some sort of timeline where T-Mobile plans to address the areas currently only served by 2G or poor backhaul. Even if it’s 1-2 years out.

      One thing we’re also too familiar with is just how much buyouts can affect or halt network progress. We went through this with AT&T and we hope not to go through this again with rumors of Softbank sniffing around.

      Hopefully Legere will be transparent about these plans at CES.

      • Gunther Pummice

        Excellent reply, GinaDee. A transparently displayed timeline (even with broad dates/milestones, i.e. 1Q2014, etc.) would provide customers with a sense of direction and hope for “what’s next?”.
        Also, there are several comments about a potential merger or buyout. The rumors themselves are bad enough, but if any of this were to actually bear fruit, then this very “corporate” move would be quite damning to the company that has recently prided itself on being the “anti-corporation.”
        I’ve been a loyal TMo customer for more than a decade and have experienced the growing pains of the company. For the first time, it’s exciting to tell friends and family that I am a TMo customer because of all of the customer-focused changes that are happening. However, like the article points out (as well as countless customers), at this point, it’s all about coverage. Yes, it makes perfect sense to go after the largest urban areas with the most customers first – the most bang for the buck. But for the 75% of us who are not in the largest, most densly-populated areas, better coverage cannot come soon enough – this includes better coverage indoors and away from WiFi areas.
        If TMo can make swift upgrades to coverage like they made swift changes in the mobile business model, then it will indeed be exciting to be a TMo customer.

        • maximus1901

          They can’t and won’t make equally swift upgrades because it’s backhaul that’s the bottleneck. GinaDee knows, from s4gru, that TMO already had fiber to tower to all of its urban areas AND it mostly had the basestations in place; it just needed new panels.
          Let’s see how fast it goes now that it has to wait on backhaul like Sprint.

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          I would hope that over the last two years, they had been negotiating with backhaul providers in un-upgraded areas while working on the areas that already have the backhaul available.

          We can see some evidence of this happening based on the gradual reduction of 2G-only coverage since the end of 2011 (71 million down from 81 million). The total coverage of the network has grown too, to 301 million people up from 290 million three years ago. I’m not that concerned about the backhaul problem, because I think T-Mobile has been proactive in dealing with that.

          What I’m concerned about is the supplier bottleneck. T-Mobile only has two vendors for cell site equipment: Ericsson and NSN (Nokia Networks). Ericsson has had trouble supplying T-Mobile with the gear that the contract stipulated in the past (because it supplies every single operator in the country, and most operators all over the world), and NSN is going to be stretched thin by its deals with China Mobile, Sprint, SoftBank, Orange, and T-Mobile.

          With ~15,000 cell sites remaining, I don’t think Ericsson or NSN could meet obligations in a timely matter. Just take a look at Sprint for example. Ericsson has been behind schedule all year! I live in an Ericsson market, and we’re getting NV gear now instead of in January like we were supposed to. Now I do have Sprint LTE, but it’s substantially later than it was supposed to be.

        • Alex Zapata

          Is it possible that in order to cover more rural areas they might implement the LTE relay/repeater feature of LTE-A? Seems like it might be cheaper than microwave backhaul if deployed strategically. Maybe I’m not looking at the whole picture though…

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          Possibly, but LTE relay would consume existing bandwidth unless you have a second frequency band that you could use for that. The only operator that could do that right now is Sprint. Throwing around BRS+EBS for an out-of-band relay to extend Band 25 coverage is definitely doable.

        • Alex Zapata

          Ah, I can definitely see that. I’ve got it! Broadcast on 1.4MHz channels! In all seriousness I’m genuinely curious to see how they intend on tackling the high-speed coverage issue aside from throwing money at the problem.

        • maximus1901

          I’d love for everything you said to be true but . . . .

          Tmobile’s own slides say they have 280mil GSM as of Oct 3, 2012.

          http://www{DOT}fiercewireless{DOT}com/pages/slides-t-mobile-usa-and-metropcs-merge

          And their cashflow since then has probably been tied up in getting to 205mil LTE.

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          There are updated numbers available in the T-Mobile Newsroom. They were released in March 2013. 280 million people is too low to claim 96% of Americans. That’s 89%, and T-Mobile would be in serious trouble for mis-representing its native coverage if it claimed that.

        • maximus1901

          Ive often seen that figure on TMO’s site. But it doesn’t say “native coverage only”.

        • maximus1901

          But why would TMO spend $ on increasing its 2g only footprint? For most people 280 mil is enough voice coverage. If it has pare $, wouldn’t it have replaced its 2g basestations instead?

        • philyew

          The Census Bureau 2012 estimate says that the population is 314m, which would make 96% = 301m.

          On the current Frequency Band Fact Sheet, TM say “301 million people covered” on the PCS 1900 MHz band. That doesn’t say “by TM’s native network” and it’s worded loosely enough to include POPs cover by the 2G roaming agreements.

          I can’t find a press release which specifically says the TM network reaches 96% of the population, but if we were to assume that it did cover 301m people and then we were to extend that by the roaming coverage, that would surely make TM’s accessible 2G footprint the largest of any of the carriers?

          The balance of probability suggests to me that the 301 million is an aggregate of the native network AND roaming.

        • philyew

          I get most of what you are saying, but don’t understand your 75% reference.

          Given that over 70% of the population live in areas that TM already has 3G/4G service and given TM’s reputation for poor coverage outside the cities, it’s hard to fathom how the proportion of TM’s customer base with poor coverage could be substantial. Vocal, of course, but really nowhere near a majority of subscribers.

        • maximus1901

          The problem is also INSIDE the cities: no signal at all inside houses, not even buildings.

        • philyew

          I didn’t refer to that initially because the PP seemed to be talking specifically about people who – to use his words – “are not in the largest, most densely-populated areas”.

          Clearly TM have recognized that and have recently run an ordinary share issue and sold senior notes to the tune of $4 billion, which is meant to be used to acquire 700MHz spectrum to address the problem.

          The only thing threatening that now is this untimely interest from Softbank, which might cause a freeze on major investments, if it goes forward.

        • AngusMightHaveABeef

          Yes. I go down the street to the store and need to call my wife – no signal inside the store. 2-3 bars when I step outside.

        • samsavoy

          Correct, but that assumes people don’t leave their houses. POPs aren’t always great way to represent coverage.

        • philyew

          I would agree that TM need to improve their suburban coverage in some areas and along the main corridors between population centers, but that still doesn’t add up to poor coverage for the majority of customers.

          Poor indoor reception in upgraded areas won’t be improved until they acquire spectrum in the lower range (700MHz), and they have already made provision for $4 billion to do that. Hopefully, this Sprint interest won’t get in the way of that happening.

        • T-Mobile Cares

          You are one if the coolest people around. Thanks for trusting us with you business and we will not let you down!

      • T-Mobile Cares

        I am sorry to have taken so long to respond, but I felt it prudent to be truly accurate when I addressed your concerns. While a timeline is something we have tried to provide in the past year for our rollout, we did leave quite a bit if room for adjustment, in the event circumstances did prevent us from meeting those commitments, but we are so proud of the fact we are well ahead of schedule that I can safely say our timeline for upgrading all towers to LTE is the end if 2014. I so want to be clear that in some rural areas we may not upgrade as quickly as one would like and for that we are truly sorry.

        As far as the buyout rumors are concerned, I will say this. In no way shape or form with this effect our day to day operations. Our plans are to continue to be the UnCarrier and move our way past Sprint and AT&T.

        The rest, well we’ll see what CES brings us, but I will say it will be exciting and like in the past, industry changing.

        • philyew

          The contents of this response make it highly relevant as to whether you are speaking in an official capacity on behalf of TM, or in a purely personal capacity.

          I would take issue with your comment that there was room for adjustment in the published schedule for the network modernization program. Right from the outset TM stated the scope of the exercise (the 37,000 towers which were at the time supporting the 3G/4G services) and defined milestones by quarter for progress. As in all large project schedules, there will have been some slack allowed to ensure that unforeseen delays didn’t cause milestones to be missed.

          What the program didn’t do was talk about what was to be done in respect of the remaining towers (~15,000) which deliver only GSM services. There was a difference between the assigned budget for the long term strategy and the amount assigned to the above phase, but nothing concrete was said about how the remaining budget allocation was to be spent. It could be either related to improved spectrum in LTE areas, improved coverage in GSM-only areas, or something else entirely.

          Simply put though,TM’s published program never addressed rural markets.

          As for your additional comments about the impact of buyout rumors, is this unofficial enthusiasm, or official smoke-blowing? No one here imagines that rumors on their own will change the way TM conducts day-to-day business. What we are concerned about is that the rumors turn into reality.

          My personal concern is three-fold (at least).

          Firstly, will actual discussions between Deutsche Telekom and Softbank impact the content of Uncarrier 4.0? So far leaks have suggested that 4.0 may contain an aggressive pursuit of competitors’ subscribers through subsidizing ETFs. That kind of approach may be considered inappropriate if TM and Sprint are about to enter a formal takeover process.

          Secondly, if the takeover process commences, how will it impact TM investment, competitive strategy, and behavior towards the customer? When this last happened with the AT&T buyout attempt, TM went into a year-long hibernation in respect of progress and innovation. The only way they were active was in finding new ways to dupe and screw-over customers, leading to mass defections.

          Thirdly, what happens if the takeover succeeds, despite prior federal statements indicating that any market rationalization to three major carriers would be unacceptable? Despite assumptions that the emerging company would continue TM’s disruptive market presence, there is nothing in reality which makes that the likely outcome. In fact, everything about the resulting market would incline the company to align with the dominant model operated by AT&T and Verizon. When that happens, we will be screwed again.

          If you are indeed an official presence, I don’t expect that you can answer any of these concerns honestly, because it would be prejudicial to ongoing discussions (if they are happening). Whether official or not, I’m afraid that politically correct statements blowing smoke help no one.

    • fsured

      The only issue with your statement is LTE technology and technology in general is constantly evolving. By the time they finish deploying what they can of 20×20 there will be a new technology or some other feature to upgrade to match what ATT or Verizon are offering. That would again take center stage over fixing the 2g coverage area.

      • samsavoy

        I think that was an actual T-Mobile employee responding.

        • T-Mobile Cares

          You are correct. I am truly a T-Mobile employee. And very proud of where we are and where we are going. Keep your ears and eyes open in 2014 as we are not done shaking things up!

      • philyew

        The next stage of LTE evolution is the move to LTE-Advanced. Fortunately, in that respect TM are as well placed as any of the carriers in terms of equipment since they deployed Release-10 compatible hardware as part of the network modernization. Upgrades at the tower will be software deployed.

        • T-Mobile Cares

          You are exactly correct. Some router configuration needs to be done, but the hardware and most of the software is in place. Get ready, cause here we go!

        • philyew

          There are a number of TM employees who post here in a personal capacity, but it’s not so clear in your case.

          You speak as if on behalf of the organization, but I don’t recall seeing a post in which you formally introduced yourself as an official TM presence on this site.

          I’m sure we would all welcome an informative, official TM contribution here from time to time, but – with all due respect – don’t need official smoke blowing or cheerleading.

          If, on the other hand, you are like others, an enthusiastic TM employee with no official remit, you may do well to remember the caveats to employees in TM’s own forum about not behaving as an official representative unless actually assigned as such.

          We just need to understand the capacity in which you post so that your comments can be weighed appropriately.

    • Stone Cold

      If you are truly a T-Mobile worker things to consider never talk down to your customer base. We may not have all the knowledge. But in our responses to the article written we are stating the things we would like to see and most concur we want better coverage.

      • AngusMightHaveABeef

        I don’t believe for a second that is an official TMO employee.

        • T-Mobile Cares

          I am sorry you believe me to but be a T-Mobile employee. I assure you I am. I was in no way talking down to our customer base and apologize if you interpreted one line in my entire statement as derogatory. The truth is we have worked incredibly hard to bring to our customers the fastest 4G LTE network available today. Given Cam’s article we appreciate everything he has said and are certainly attuned to the Voice of our Customers. It is important for us to correct inaccuracies and make sure our customers understand the direction we are moving in. Again, if you felt I was belittling you in anyway, I am sorry.

    • landmarkcm

      Just keep up the HSPA+ & I’m good. Oh and the great prices. Your way better then Sprint in both areas!

      • T-Mobile Cares

        Thank you and we will continue to provide you with the best congestion free network available in the industry. And yes, you will not see your hard earned money be taken by us. Simple plans for the right amount, what you can afford. Thank you again for your for your considerate words.

  • Mike

    Yep, and that is the one thing T-Mobile really needs to focus on in 2014 is coverage. Up here in Eureka, California T-Mobile still has 2G. Well, I should say in most places up here they have 2G, on their coverage map they claim they have 1 or 2 towers of 3G coverage but it their 3G coverage up here only covers downtown Eureka, which not everyone (including myself) lives in downtown Eureka. I know putting 4G or LTE into places where they still have 2G cost a lot of money but come on T-Mobile right now you are dead last in the game up here when it comes to data networks in Eureka. Up here, Verizon has LTE, US Cellular has LTE, AT&T has HSPA+, and Sprint has 3G with network vision starting to roll out here, so I don’t understand why T-Mobile would want to have 2G up here. I would love to have unlimited everything for $70 a month but because they have 2G up here, I have to stick with Verizon. It’s not like i’m forced to stay with Verizon but its like I want to pay the extra $25 a month with Verizon and only get 6 gigabytes of data but have LTE and not unlimited but with 2G like T-Mobile. So hopefully T-Mobile can get 4G up here so that way I can still have 4G but not be locked into a data plan like Verizon is forcing me to do.

  • landmarkcm

    Running Moto G & the HSPA+ is sometimes faster then other LTE devices I had. If they could at least eliminate the edge everywhere off there map & replace ALL their markets to at least have HSPA+ that would also be great.

    • jdubtrey

      Indeed.

      I thought that’s where the article was going. Upgrading 2g to HSPA+ would be a more subtle but substantial move than just deploying more LTE.

      • maximus1901

        That would require new basestations ANYWAY i.e. if you upgrade to HSPA, you get LTE. The point is that you need fiber to tower backhaul for either HSPA or LTE, instead of the T1 1.44 mbps they have to their 2g-only sites.

        • jdubtrey

          Doesn’t LTE require more base stations to make up for the reduced signal penetration?

        • maximus1901

          That’s assuming a carrier wants the same quality on 4g as they have on 3g; that’s never the case.

      • princedannyb

        HSPA+ would cost less money to roll out but with the way carriers are bragging about how many pops lte covers and the future of voice over lte, 4g lte 5+5 might be the best way to go. But I’m good either way.

  • nycplayboy78

    Great article Cam…I am in the Washington, DC Metro Area and I have great coverage…OUTSIDE..But once I am inside I loose all coverage…SIGH…T-Mobile need to address that ASAP…We don’t have wifi everywhere here in DC for obvious reasons…Municipal wifi would be a great thing but I digress that is a story for another day :)

  • ambermoran

    I recently switched to tmobile from at&t and found myself switching back two days later. I was so excited to get rid of at&t because i pay 107 every month for one smartphone but the service in my area was not great which is really disappointing because the prices are awesome. I also think the coverage map needs to be updated because it said i would have excellent lte service in my area and it was on edge the whole time. I called tmobile and they sent signals and still nothing. Once this issue is fixed i will be going back.

    • dyvxf

      Were you using your att phone?

    • taron19119

      What phone was u useing

    • T-Mobile Cares

      I am so sorry to hear you had a bad experience with us in your area. Maybe I can help. Please tell me more about your situation, preferably the area in question, the device you are using and if the problems you encountered were indoors, outdoors or both. Our maps do need some updating and with your input I can see what can be done about this. Thanks for your information. It really is helpful and we will welcome you back soon.

      • Ambermoran

        Thanks for the response, I live in Springfield Massachusetts and i was using a tmobile iphone 5s that i purchased directly from tmobile. Aslo my problem was happening both indoors and outdoors.

    • Guest

      at&t phone or t-mobile phone?

  • rfgenerator

    Unfortunately it seems all but certain that T-Mobile is headed into another period of uncertainty as rumors of buyouts swirl. Clearly something is actually going on with regards to a potential T-Mobile sale. The biggest impact of just the rumors and maneuverings surrounding a potential sale is that T-Mobile will basically end up in a holding pattern in 2014, no major CAPEX expenditures to increase or improve coverage. If a sale actually happens the approval or rejection of the sale won’t happen until very late 2014 or possibly even 2015. If it’s an approval there will be a horror show period where the companies merge operationally and technically. Massive layoffs, FUBARed network , etc. Coverage may be better in 5 years, but you can bet if the buyout happens, T-Mobile will end up looking very much like Verizon and ATT (contracts, higher prices). The Corporate system is broken in the US, where buyouts and mergers are bad news for customers and employees (except the top mucky mucks).

    • philyew

      I think this will only go into a holding pattern if DT decides to accept an offer from Softbank.

      It’s unlikely that maintaining the current course would be a problem for a long term deal with anyone other than one of the top carriers.

      DT management will know that Softbank (Sprint) can use a mutually drawn out courtship to mess with potentially aggressive plans for imminent Uncarrier stages.

      While there isn’t much time, I’d say that the leaked intentions for Uncarrier 4.0 which are due to be unveiled at next month’s CES, have the (probably deliberate) effect of pressing Softbank to make their move early. Expectations have been set that TM will be subsidizing the termination of other carriers’ contracts with a move to TM. Once that boat sails, it will be difficult for Sprint to defend its turf, therefore they need to get a decision from DT before CES.

      In short, if the CES announcement proceeds as expected, then a deal with Sprint may well be off the table for the foreseeable future, and TM will continue to roll with all its current plans.

      That said, Verizon may retaliate by jacking up the price of the 700MHz spectrum that TM were said to be planning to buy with their recently acquired $4 billion.

      • Jarobusa

        Let Verizon jack up the price. Sprint has plenty 800Mhz spectrum with LTE already running in a few locations.

        • philyew

          I was thinking of the “business as usual” situation if the Softbank takeover attempt didn’t proceed.

  • jdubtrey

    1) upgrade 2g areas to HSPA

    2) come out with an additional $30 plan that has a balance of voice and data (more than 100 minutes but less than 5GB..like 300 and 2.5)

  • Guest

    1) Enable Wi-Fi calling on all phones including iPhone
    2) Send out free signal boosters for people most affected by coverage

    This should at least help as a temporary solution while they further expand and acquire low band spectrum

    • maximus1901

      1) Wifi calling requires modification at the OS-level. Apple? No.
      2) Free signal boosters? You’re already getting the cheapest service. If it doesn’t work, move to H20 wireless (runs on ATT network), $60 unlimited hspa data.

      • John Brown

        Signal boosters aren’t available to EDGE customers. That’s why I left!

    • Alex Zapata

      WiFi calling as it is now requires custom firmware at the very LEAST. You can enable it on some non-TMO devices by flashing the proper ROM and firmware.

      Maybe things will be different in the future, but who knows.

  • Brian Hurd

    I’d like to see LTE…. Cincinnati is still 4G (if your within a mile or so of an interstate). I’ve been with TMO since 2003 and I can honestly say they suck with regards to coverage.
    I’ve heard the “we’re in the process of building out our network” now for several years and don’t buy it anymore.
    I keep it because the coverage I do have is inexpensive compared to the rest.
    Just my opinion….

    • Bori

      Amen to that!!

    • Jarobusa

      The issue with Cincinnati is that T-Mobile does not have enough spectrum to expand to LTE.

      • Brian Hurd

        I realize the spectrum issue for Cincinnati however that’s TMO’s problem not the user. The longer it goes one the more problem it’ll be. As for the bigger picture, if you travel up the I75 corridor you find speeds drop pretty quickly to EDGE after the Troy area and don’t ever get higher than EDGE speeds until Toledo.
        If you travel more than a couple miles off an interstate you drop to EDGE in way too many areas. So I think the newfound market hype for TMO will be pretty short lived once the other carriers drop rates and then market around data speeds.
        Like I said, TMO has low rates which, for now, compensate for the spotty data speeds. The new financing plans amount to a customer retainer just as much as an ETF.
        Just my opinion….

        • John Brown

          I’m on the east side in Batavia and I just ran from T-Mobile after 4 months of internet timeouts on 64k EDGE and dropped calls galore in my basement apartment. Believe it or not, Cricket is even better than T-Mo in this town! They need to buy out Cincinnati Bell to acquire spectrum. Their 20 customers would be thankful!

  • Richj0700

    Very good article. I live in a highly populated suburb of Denver and get terrible signal in some areas, even close to major highways. Now Verizon has prepaid plan for $50 and includes more data with better signal. I really wish I had paid full price for a Verizon iphone 5s now since I had to pay full price anyway.

    • Stone Cold

      Yes I am a Denverite too and building penatration is a huge issue here. I know there were a could of dead zones in the southern suburbs and along I-25

    • superg05

      verizon moto x is on sale at best buy

    • Aaron Davis

      How does the verizon plan include “more data” than t-mobiles unlimited 4g plan?

  • yankeesusa

    What a great article! Really explains what is happening with tmobile and what they can become. I recently moved 2 lines over to tmobile and I am very happy. Although my signal is spotty in the outskirts of most cities where I spend over 85% of the time I have LTE most of the time and the other times I have hspa+ which is still great. Compared to sprint which I still have for business, I get signal almost everywhere with roaming on verizon when I need it but my LTE is probably only 5% of the time with speeds never exceeding 8mbps and 3g being only about 1mbps on a good day. t-Mobile has a very good chance of being one of the best. I am looking forward to their Jan 8 uncarrier 4 event. I’m hoping a major expansion on their lte. maybe instead of 250million it will be close to 400 million? Can’t wait.

    • princedannyb

      The US only has just over 317 million pops. Including 2g tmobile’s native network covers 280 some thing million POPS (I think 283 but not sure). If they can get LTE to 280 million POPS by early 2015 I will be impressed. John Legere said that at some point at the beginning of 2014 LTE will reach 225 million POPS. So my prediction is that LTE will expand to 225 at the event. After that most of the hspa network will be covered with lte. (hspa covers 229 mil.) Next they need to continue to expand rapidly patching up 2g with atleast LTE 5+5 or hspa+ 21. I think that at UNCARRIER 4.0 we could also see some more 20 + 20 lte, but a larger 20 + 20 expansion on the investors conference call on feb 25.

      • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

        The T-Mobile network covers 301 million people with 2G services.

        • philyew

          Is that directly via the ~52,000 towers that deliver TM service, or does it include roaming agreements?

          We know that ~37,000 towers, with equipment to handle AWS, serve areas occupied by 229 million. That means the other ~15,000 towers would have to reach 72 million, if roaming was not a part of the equation.

          What puzzles me is that those 72 million are distributed over a much larger geographical area, so I am wondering how as few as 15,000 towers could handle the range?

          I get that the number of towers delivering 3G/4G is determined by population density as well as geographic range, but even so the scale of the rural geography seems like it would need more towers to cover.

          I’m sure you can help me to get a clearer picture here.

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          It’s supposed to be over the native coverage area.

        • philyew

          Thanks. I guess what that really means is the other 15 million that aren’t covered are located in areas which are actually larger than the rest of the population altogether. Looking at a map of population distribution, it’s amazing how much of the country has density less than 10 people per square mile.

          I guess that raises the question how/why Verizon find it economically viable to deliver LTE with fiber backhaul to such a large footprint?

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          The answer is that there isn’t fiber backhaul to most of those LTE sites. A lot of them are fed by bonded pairs of T1 circuits, or T3 circuits. Others are fed by microwave point to point transmissions that terminate at a fiber backbone node owned by Verizon.

          Nowhere does it say that fiber backhaul is required for LTE. And I have not read anything that states Verizon is using fiber backhaul (or really, any high capacity backhaul) on all of its sites.

        • philyew

          Since throughput can’t be greater than the narrowest point in the circuit, I guess that means that their claims about LTE service in many of those areas are pretty meaningless then…

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          Pretty much. Ironically, AT&T boxed itself into a corner by declaring that all LTE sites are fed with enhanced backhaul, and AT&T defines enhanced backhaul as fiber to the tower or fiber to a microwave transmission system.

          T-Mobile has been extremely specific and stated that substantially all of them are fed by fiber to the tower directly. T-Mobile does use microwave to the fiber node in some places, but most are fed by fiber links to the tower.

          As for Verizon, I’ve only heard of bonding up to ten T1 lines for a fiber cell site (10×1.544Mbps). Most are bonded up to five T1 lines (5×1.544Mbps). Others use a single T3 lines (1×44.736Mbps), but some use a bonded pair (2×44.736Mbps). Microwave point to point is actually often a multipoint system, so a fiber node being connected to a transmission scheme is often split hundreds of ways (500Mbps/N or 1000Mbps/N).

        • princedannyb

          I think that includes roaming. And at the civerage map where it says it covers 96% of americans I think includes wifi calling. Sprints 3g (or 2.5g really) covers 276 mil pops.

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          According to T-Mobile’s own fact sheet that it released shortly before the merger with MetroPCS, it’s all native. T-Mobile’s claim is that it covers 96% of Americans under its native coverage area. Given that the current official estimated population count is around 312 million people, 301 million is actually correct.

        • princedannyb

          Verizon’s 4g lte network is larger than tmobile’s 2g and they only clame to cover 95% of the population.

        • Serge

          Nope. 52,000 towers cover 242m POPs. The rest is covered by roaming agreements (mostly AT&T).

        • philyew

          What is your source for this, please?

          I’m not sure this can be true. Back in 2008, prior to launching its 3G service on the AWS band, TM announced the completion of the SunCom acquisition and said that it would allow them to extend their network coverage to 259 million POPs from their then 244 million.

        • Serge

          I think you are right. I remember reading that AT&T break-up roaming agreement increased T-mobile coverage by 50 mPOPs to 292 mPOP (AT&T coverage at the time the article was written). Now I reread a few articles about the agreement and it appears they are talking about 3G coverage increase not 2G. So your number, 259 mPOPs covered by 2G sounds right. 301 mPOPs quoted by Conan Kudo sounds like the current AT&T coverage available to T-mobile through the agreement.

      • Mr. Brown

        They cover 220m POPS with LTE. Verizon, the largest LTE carrier, covers about 280m POPS.

    • al

      How many business lines do you have?

      • yankeesusa

        Just one. But it is now with tmobile along with my wifes line that used to be a sprint sero plan. I still have 4 lines with sprint but they belong to my business partner and some of his family members. This way if something happens and tmobile isn’t as good and sprint really steps it up I have a line open. But so far it looks like I will be with tmobile for a while…. Unless sprint ends up really buying it

  • Han Solo

    What they need to be doing is adding 1900 3G coverage ASAP and start to take more iphone users away from ATT. People finding out they get EDGE when they switch is making them never want to come back. There is a serious amount of potential customers that TMO could be winning over from ATT but, they are taking too long with the 1900 3g coverage addition, and leaving all those potential customer wins on the table and its a massive missed opportunity.

    • sahib102 .

      its true because everyone asks me how much I pay and I tell them 30$ and ask if the service is good and get more interested but when I tell them orland has 2g they lose interest and then ask me any other carrier and recommend strait talk or AIO or even sprint ….sad that I have to recommend sprint over T-Mobile because of that issue :/

      • Andrew David Hamon

        Really? I get pretty great signal in Orlando. Its sometimes spotty in some buildings at UCF but otherwise I’m happy.

        • sahib102 .

          not Orlando :P but in orland,california , different places :D

        • Andrew David Hamon

          Ahh okay! My bad :p

  • T-Mobile Cares

    Happy New Year to each and every one if you. Please be safe as you ring in the new year.

    Your family at T-Mobile

    • princedannyb

      I beleive you are a true tmobile employee and please keep participating in the comments. I got so excited when I saw your comment that 2g could be upgraded by the end of 2014. Also there is a specific EDGE tower I have been trying to get upgraded. I have filed at the take action website and have emailed executive response. What else can I do?

      • T-Mobile Cares

        Thanks for letting me know you have been proactive in trying to get an EDGE/2G tower upgraded. The best advise I can give you today is be patient. As stated, we are working to resolve these towers and upgrade them as fast as possible. If you would give me an idea if where this tower is located I will do my best to get you some updated information on our plans fir upgrading.

        • princedannyb

          Ok, thanks for responding. I am in an area that on the data map has “good” 4g/3g signal and on the 2g/voice map is excellent, but I can rarely pick up 3g or 4g. I get full 2g signal. The town is Citra, Fl and has a population of over 6,000. Zip 32113 In the middle of my town is a 2g only tower. According to antenna search it is located at 19055 N. US Hwy. 301, citra, fl.

        • princedannyb

          That address isn’t valid sorry. It is located right in downtown citra though. Here is a link to the tower. Sorry but for my comment not to get deleted, I have to change the . in the url to {DOT} http://www.antennasearch{DOT}com/sitestart.asp?sourcepagename=antennachecktowerreview&getpagename=pgtowerdetail_fcc&cmdrequest=getpage&ipos=1&registration_number=1216542

        • princedannyb

          For some resone the link isn’t working. Also can you state what branch of tmo you work in?

        • Mr. Brown

          He works in the Imagination Branch, because it’s just an Anonymous Coward pulling your leg.

        • maximus1901

          It is an established fact that: when a 2G-only tower gets broken, it is replaced with a basestation having HSPA+ running at 300-700kbps.
          Soooooo…… If his tower were to get broken …….

        • John Brown

          I just ditched T-Mobile because I was fed up with EDGE only in zip code 45103. I’m only 22 miles from Cincinnati and having 2G in 2014 is ridiculous. You lost a customer to Cricket. They have 3G here!!!!

        • T-Mobile Cares

          Oh Mr. Brown, we do not have a department “Imagination” as we are a “Productive” company and not a bunch of dreamers. If you would like to come visit, I can be found in a very large building in Bellevue, WA. Please let me know when you wish to visit so I can be sure to adjust my schedule to be there.

        • T-Mobile Cares

          PrinceDannyB, I will be looking into this for you in the coming week and get back to you. Thanks for taking the time to get me the information.

        • princedannyb

          Thankyou!

        • princedannyb

          Sorry that address isn’t valid. If you google map it, it’s way off. The tower is located right in downtown citra, florida and is very visible from hwy 301

        • Baz

          Happy New Year, T-Mobile Cares. I’ve been reading your posts on coverage and T-Mobile’s dedication towards improvements, and firmly believe you are a TMo employee, and sincere about what you’re saying.

          I live in Middletown, DE and have 5 smartphone lines with TMo in the area. I’ve been happy with your customer service and your products, except the 2G coverage in most areas here. I’m on the verge of leaving TMo to Verizon or ATT when my contract is up in a couple of months.

          I need to know when LTE or HSPA is deployed in the area, and whether I can tough it out until then. If not, then I will leave and gladly pay a higher price for coverage that is fast and reliable, which is no longer a luxury these days, but a necessity. Thank you in advance for your response.

  • Nathan Bush

    My Sprint contract expires in 2015. T-Mobile sounds like an awesome way to go, as T-Mobile affiliate iWireless (NOT the Kroger/Fred Meyer/Kwik Shop iWireless), which covers about 80% of Iowa outside of Des Moines and Ames. I realize that only a small footprint of T-Mobile native towers are available in Iowa, but if iWireless gets around to upgrading their EDGE towers to HOPEFULLY LTE, but HSPA+ will do, especially if you’re in the rural areas. This is meaning that TECHNICALLY there is T-Mo coverage throughout the entire state for the most part. T-Mobile currently has HSPA+ in Des Moines, but TMo’s Twitters back to me saying they’re installing LTE in our market within the next 90 days. Not only is installing LTE vital, but they need to focus on the fast growing Des Moines suburbs! Altoona and Ankeny, suburbs in the NE portion of the Des Moines Metro of 700,000 (yes, Des Moines is a city…it isn’t 10 million plus like in Chicago, L.A. or NYC, but it’s a city!), particularly Altoona (Altoona is getting a Facebook data center, and it opens in 2015…so much potential for T-Mobile!), unfortunately has EDGE, and if you go into buildings, sometimes GPRS, which is how old now??? Sorry for ranting…I just hope T-Mobile realizes this, and though we aren’t their number one focused market, but Des Moines is a very important one, given the caucuses and other major events…we’re more important than the typical person thinks.

    • Jeremy Erickson

      Warning about iWireless: it’s considered roaming (at least as of a year ago when I was last in an iWireless area), so you have an extremely restrictive data cap. Switching to iWireless proper might be a better bet, though I’m not very familiar with their offerings.

      • Nathan Bush

        I’m not worried about that. I don’t really leave the city that often…maybe once or twice a month. That said, iWireless has some pretty sweet plans…$95 gets you two months of unlimited, yes unlimited everything, including HSPA+ data with no caps. It’s a great plan…if you live in the bigger cities in Iowa, as most of iWireless’ footprint is mostly EDGE (with that said, I don’t think you would even come close to any roaming data caps), which makes your high end smartphone almost useless. You may as well have a feature phone. iWireless also tells me that it only supports HSPA+ at this time, which might be true, as I brought my iWireless phone (I use one as a temp phone when I travel, just in case my Sprint phone has bad data coverage) to Chicagoland last month, and it’s an unlocked LG Escape, which is an LTE phone, but no matter where I went, it was strictly HSPA+. Also, which was weird, and yes, my settings are correct on my phone, I was only getting EDGE speeds in Iowa City and Davenport, which are supposed to have HSPA+ towers. Meh, I don’t go there but once or twice a year, so I’m not that bummed.

      • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

        I’ve had reports from people saying iWireless is no longer considered roaming ever since T-Mobile gave them the rights to sell service in Des Moines.

        • Jeremy Erickson

          Good to hear! As I said, it’s been about a year since I was last in iWireless territory, so it’s entirely possible that things have changed since then.

        • Nathan Bush

          On some phones, it does have the roaming signal when using T Mobile’s native towers, which means Des Moines and Ames, but once you leave those cities, it clicks onto native towers. On some phones, you have to do a Network Search to cling onto the native towers, as it doesn’t click over to recognize the native towers from the T-Mobile towers.

  • Tom Nguyen

    Let’s try to synchronize and tweak the network so that it doesn’t drain our iPhone batteries so much..

  • z

    looks like sprint…. is about to make the bid… rip tmobile….

    • Stone Cold

      Softbank not Sprint

  • eight7four

    Moved to Kansas for some odd reason. T-Mobile is not the best choice here.

    • FluX

      What do you mean, it’s the prairie! T-Mobile has 5G LTE-A deployed there already!
      JK but what part of Kansas are you moving to? I thought they have some LTE in Topeka/Kansas City…

  • KlausWillSeeYouNow

    With Sprint closing in, I must repeat: “DISH, save us!”

    • Stone Cold

      Please explain how Dish would save T-Mobile?

      • maximus1901

        By buying it.

      • KlausWillSeeYouNow

        Gladly.

        Dish owns a massive amount of spectrum. This can only help T-Mobile. They have a large rural presence, which T-Mobile doesn’t. They would be eager to expand T-Mo to that customer base. They have a lot of free cash on hand. T-Mobile doesn’t. Dish is an innovator. So is T-Mobile. Dish is the most affordable choice in TV. T-Mobile is the most affordable choice in wireless. Dish has the Hopper. That would make for a compelling bundle that U-verse, FiOS, and cable couldn’t even start to touch.

        I consider them both to be at mobile companies that put the customer first. They’d be a very good match for each other indeed. Underdog + underdog = ultimate unCarrier Top Dog. :-)

        • FluX

          Nicely stated! Very good explanation and good question @StoneCold87:disqus

        • John Brown

          I can imagine a dish t-mo merger as being the wireless equivalent of a telecommunications giant. You could have your cell phone, home phone (my dad is on AT&T and actually has a device that he plugs his home phone into and the device converts POTS to cellular. Straight Talk and Verizon have it too, so could T-Dish), and TV through the same provider and at a much better rate than going through traditional telcos or cable providers.

        • Stone Cold

          Very good points indeed. Personally I would still like to see T-Mobile stay on there own and find a way to buy more spectrum. But this is the most compelling argument I have heard for a T-Mobile Dish marriage.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Yep this would make so much sense.

          Hope it happens

        • Sonia

          Very good points!

    • Stone Cold

      I still can’t see The Softbank buying T-mobile thing happening

  • dullgeek

    If by “coverage” you mean, getting better building penetration, or more reliable coverage in areas they already cover, then yes, you’re probably right that they need to focus on coverage. However, if you mean that they need to expand to have the same coverage map as VZW or ATT, then I’m not sure that I agree.

    I live in a city with very good TMO coverage. And I am in this city 95% of the time. And when I’m not in this city 2-3% of the time, I’m in another city with strong TMO coverage. Which means I’m really only outside of strong TMO coverage 2-3% of the time. For me, the incremental cost of going to VZW just isn’t worth the benefit. I pay $100/mo for 3 lines. the same thing on VZW would cost $180/mo, on AT&T it’d cost $200/mo. An 80% – 100% price increase just isn’t worth the 2%-3% coverage benefit.

    I suspect that there are a *LOT* of non-TMO customers who are in my situation. And while I think TMO needs to build out its coverage map, I don’t think it’s a 2014 priority. I think there’s a lot of customer growth available in areas that they already cover, where the marginal cost of adding a new customer is much lower.

    • Nick

      That’s for you only and proves my point I always make with people about Tmobile’s coverage. They seem to care about large metro areas only. Where I live you can go from their 4G coverage and within 5 minutes you have Edge and that’s all there is around you, or GPRS. (Unless I drive farther east towards Chicago.)

      • maximus1901

        They just spend billions upgrading to LTE. 2014 will indicate whether they’re serious about upgrading 2g only. Conan kudo thinks 2014 will be the year of the TMO upgrades.

        It would be acceptable, at least at first, to have HSPA on the same T1 1.44mbps backhaul so people could at least stream 64kbps pandora.

        Just anything better than EDGE.

  • Angry

    I don’t think combining the rural cable alternative with an urban mobile network will make a workable bundle.

  • vinnyjr

    I have very fast and strong T-Mobile HSPA+ and LTE. I have never had better coverage from any Carrier. T-Mobile would seriously hurt themselves if they even talk to Sprint. I prefer a GSM Network. I hope T-Mobile can find a way to stay T-Mobile without any ext help, they have never looked better.
    Thank You T-Mobile

  • Nancy

    Work on coverage, please

  • Jason

    In my work and home area coverage is great. Except that in my home area 4 bars of LTE on my Nexus 5 = No network access. Spent over an hour with a tech trying to figure out the problem. No resolution. Same issue with both phones on my account. Same issue I’ve had for 2 years across 3 different phones. No answers, no offers of compensation, just shrugged shoulders and “sorry”. Couldn’t be more displeased with the idea that coverage is faked.

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      contact executive support

  • GigaCode

    Around 1.5yrs ago I switched sprint to t mobile, after I saved lots of money and the coverage in my area is just great. Always getting LTE sometimes 3g in some places but in my home, work, I always get LTE. So happy t mobile user. not going to switch anytime until something really big happen.

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      Even with only hspa you get speeds much higher than sprints 3g when its good…

  • meddle0ne

    I was about to switch from T-Mobile when they did away with contracts. It’s kept me with the service so far. There’s just something about being forced to make a long term deal for what I consider a nonessential that just irritates me. I hope the coverage improves, because I just absolutely despise contracts.

  • Marcus Kilgore

    I’ve been with T-mobile for around 5 years now and love their service! Only issues I want them to improve upon is

    1) Better selection of phones

    2) LTE coverage

    I like what Legere’s doing definitely an untypical CEO. Looking forward to what T-mobile brings in 2014!

  • Miguel Ruiz

    I would switch to t-mobile it they upgraded areas where they have 2g/edge service. That’s the case with Yuma, AZ where my parents live. Verizon has 4g LTE and AT&T has “4g” hsdpa service.

  • mike22

    Tmobile can NOT compare itself too the Big Boys at all ! VZW and AT&T even Sprint

    • princedannyb

      I beg to differ. T-mobile’s native network is larger than sprints and has way faster 4g lte. Even T-mobile’s hspa+ 42 is faster than sprint lte. And sure att and verizon have better coverage but are way more expensive. Tmobile’s 4g lte is faster than verizons and head to head with att. Also neither verizon or att have hd voice or wifi calling. During 2014 tmobile will patch up EDGE, go 20+20 and will be even better. And why are u even commenting, this article was written 6 days ago.

  • Bob Brown

    T-Mo needs to upgrade data coverage on major Midwest Interstates….Once you get 30-45 minutes out of Chicago, you cannot get data coverage on I-55 South, I-57 South, I-80 West. This is not a sign of a first class provider.

  • Excellent coverage is king.

    Until coverage improves (area codes 06426 and 06498) everything else is just blah, blah, blah. And that’s what I’ve been hearing for the last almost 9 yrs.

    • Chris

      If you’ve had bad coverage and still stuck with them for 9 years, there is simply something wrong with you… You buy products for what they are not for what they will look like in the future. If you would’ve moved to a carrier better than T-mobile in your area (about 7 years ago), you would have a completely satisfying experience right now.

  • Bob

    Adding tower coverage is a lengthy & costly process. Never mind that 700A coverage – if they get it – will take some time to get on new handsets.

    DT sold $3 billion in shares lowering their ownership stake to 67% earlier this year. That’s to buy the 700A.

    DT still wants out of the US market so at some point in 2014 ownership will change and unless the new owner has deep pockets T-Mobile will be mired in debt. When Dish was bidding on Sprint last year almost every penny was going to come from junk bonds.

  • Jim Mack

    The number goal should be to eradicate 2g only markets from its coverage map. The top speed being Edge is not acceptable anywhere at anytime with the bandwidth needed to use the phones TMO sells. Right now TMO is a, you get what you pay for carrier….but imagine if TMO invested in its network like Verizon does…..then its game on!

  • Vikram Singh

    Theres still way too much Edge in rural areas, forget LTE, as soon as we step out of the city I even lose HSPA. 2G is terrible and before speeding up the network where there is already LTE, they should expand their 3g (or LTE) coverage to places that still only have 2g!

  • John Brown

    I left T-Mobile last week because I was fed up with EDGE only coverage in this small town that’s only 22 miles east of Cincinnati. I was reminded of AT&T circa 2009 Remember Verizon’s “There’s a map for that” ad campaign when AT&T didn’t have 3G anywhere yet Verizon had it coast to coast? Yeah, just replace AT&T with T-Mobile and replace 3G with 4G and you see what I mean. Bring 4G to more than a 15 mile radius of Cincinnati and I MIGHT come back.

    • Bill Berry

      Amen! Amen! T-Mobile has to expand 3G HSPA+ to rural areas and for the love of God, get more coverage where there is none, like where I live. AT&T? HSPA+, Verizon Wireless at least 3G.

  • Jeffrey Wang

    T-Mobile will have to start appealing to the masses and begin to change their image–most people don’t want to switch simply because they A. don’t get good corporate discounts B. like the bundles that AT&T/Verizon offer C. want unlimited data by default so they jump ship to Sprint (and do not realize T-Mobile is much cheaper still) and D. don’t get the good coverage they deserve in the countryside.

    • Eleeflyguy43

      Sprint’s unlimited data advantage is nullified because you are capped to 5gb/month at max speed anyways.. Their network speed is practically unusable.

      • Jeffrey Wang

        Actually, I just discovered that if you reach your high speed data limit for the month, you don’t get slowed down when you’re on LTE. So, T-Mobile is truly unlimited! (UPDATE: Probably only for the last few days.)

  • Brendan Mold

    Northampton MA has 4G and Burlington VT still stuck on 2G. WTF?

  • William

    With AT&T lowering the cost of their family plans (three lines for $145), the advantage of switching to T-Mobile is almost nullified. Sure T-Mobile is still a bit cheaper, but I’d rather pay a few extra dollars for good coverage. T-Mobile, come back when ALL of your 2G coverage area has been upgraded to HSPA+ or LTE. Also, if you can’t expand into previously uncovered areas, at least offer a larger pool of domestic roaming data.

    • Bill Berry

      AT&T needs to lower its prices a whole lot more but you’re right about HSPA+. I live in a town of 400 people in rural West Central GA and AT&T has this area covered. T-Mobile, zip, and where my kids live where what use to be PowerTel central back in the day, only 2G; the moment you leave Opelika, AL beyond mm62 on I-85, bingo back to EDGE; simply ridiculous.

  • str8loungin

    You lost me when you stated you preferred a T-mo > Dish merger over a T-mo > Sprint merger.

  • Eleeflyguy43

    I don’t like TMo’s LTE. It is practically unusable for me in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Las Vegas. They made the busness decision for quantity (233 cites to date), over quality. I can understand that decision as it will help TMo with signing up new customers. . But for ATT and for Verizon LTE converts, I expect TMo to receive some disappointment complaints from those customers who thought the Magenta coverage area for LTE would equate o the same LTE experience as their former carrier.

  • Bill Berry

    You folks who have high speed anything need to consider yourselves blessed. Tolerate 2G/EDGE and get back to me on why they don’t have a data plan for EDGE users when there is NO alternative; it’s not like we’re going to hit the cap in our lifetime.

  • Ryan

    Closest T-Mobile LTE is 45 miles away from me (Zip 97818) in Zip 99336 and 100+/- miles away around Portland, Oregon. Everything in between is pure GPRS. Not good.

  • TylerCameron

    Why do all T-Mobile apps sow roaming in Canada and Mexico?

  • Yobym

    I love what T-Moble is doing but their signal sucks where I live. It is the 2G/Edge network (if you even get service). Both AT&T and Verizon have solid LTE coverage here and Sprint has solid 3G coverage in my town. It is about 10 minutes out of a smaller city (covered in LTE by all 4 carriers). T-Mobile needs to expand their coverage into the areas surrounding the cities. Hopefully they work on that this year!

  • husker991

    Bottom line is tmo needs to fix domestic roaming first and foremost. We’re considering going back to vzw because of it.

  • If_My_People

    I’m a driver and frequently go throughout the Midwest from Texas to the Northeast. I switched from Sprint unlimited to TMobile assuming the data coverage had to be similar to the other major carriers. Big mistake on my part! If you drive for a living, travel frequently or count on a usable data signal on major freeways, TMobile is not for you. If you like to stream, use apps like Waze or Gas Buddy, or just need to access the net for any reason, you’ll find it extremely difficult outside of any major or sizable city. I’m talking the moment we get approx 30 miles from downtown St Louis, we go from LTE to 2G. Neither of us has ever gotten a 3G icon show up on our phone. Then it goes to just G. It’s basically unusable and goes on like this for sometimes up to 60-70 miles. That’s totally inexcusable on a major interstate for us. It’s so bad I have to borrow my kids LG phone on Boost Mobile to get a phone number off the net when she rides with me at work. We pay $205 a month for our HTC One M8 and Samsung 5, and we could not be more disappointed with the overall data coverage. Our personal situation calls for a network that allows the phone to be a business tool while out on the road. Unless TMobile merges with someone very soon, we’ll be one & done with them unfortunately.