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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  • Ford_Thundercougarfalconbird

    Coverage. There are areas near me that are 2G only, and there is no excuse for that.

    • maximus1901

      Money. Best excuse ever.

    • donnybee

      Actually yes there is. Up until recently, they couldn’t afford it. See, upgrading all the 2G areas requires lots of cash. T-Mobile was hurting so bad for cash last year that they had to lease a slew of their towers out to get more cash.

      Now that we have the cash flow and stockpile, we need the right spectrum. We can, and should, all agree that we want T-Mobile to do this the right way. I don’t want all the 2G around me to be upgraded in some half-assed way. I want it to be a leap forward and revolutionary for the US wireless market. T-Mobile needs to plan this the right way. But we need spectrum to do it. Not having spectrum is a pretty big excuse, and a valid one at that.

      • Mike

        I mentioned this before. For years after TMO Germany bought Voicstream (TMUS), the farthest from their minds was massive reinvestment in the network. Germany sucked as much cash out of the US entity as possible every year leaving very little free cash flow to bid on spectrum or build out the network organically. They let the place languish for years. Since the failed acquisition by ATT, the merger with Metro, and hiring of a new CEO, the focus has been to right a wrong as quickly as possible. I think this is a great thing. But we can’t be foolish to believe they can right a wrong all alone or overnight – the seven year ATT roaming agreement that expands coverage bought some time but I think it makes sense to partner with someone as that agreement will quickly expire.

        • philyew

          And yet DT spent over $6.5 billion acquiring AWS spectrum and deploying their 3G network between 2006-8, after they had spent over $55 billion to acquire the company in the first place.

          They paid way too much to start with and have been chasing that investment ever since. The result is the same: that crucial opportunities to invest were missed, but it wasn’t because DT were trying to suck the company dry, they were trying to get the balance sheet right for their investors from a bad investment.

          Still, without the TM budget presence for the last 10+ years, does anyone think any of the carriers would be doing Uncarrier right now?

    • cameo

      For what it’s worth, I live in Bellevue, WA, where T-Mobile’s HQ is located, and I still find places in the city without any T-Mobile signal. Not even 2G.
      That ought to be embarrassing.

      • Yeah Bellvue should be lit up with LTE like crazy. That’s insane

      • Justin747

        Sprint is dead last in Overland Park, KS, where their HQ is located.

        • Stone Cold

          That is a shame.

        • WiWavelength

          Last in what metric? Sprint is first in market share in Kansas City.

          AJ

        • Trevnerdio

          This is true, which is hilarious.

          “What’s that? LTE in NYC? Nonsense, let’s put it at the end of the yellow brick road!”

      • Stone Cold

        That is embarrassing

    • Qbancelli

      Coverage is nice but T-Mobile has to do something about this FAKE LTE they have here in NYC.

      It is actually slower than the HSPA+ we used to have, half as fast.
      If I ever see John Lagere, or whatever his name is, I tell it to his face.

      • Trevnerdio

        Get upwards of 40mbps in my location….

  • Hopefully coverage in my area. Floresville,Texas in the heart of the Eagle Ford Oil Shale area. Verizon and ATT both have LTE coverage all the way down to Kennedy,Texas. With these large oil companies coming down here the big two made a decision to get LTE right away to get the thousands of people working down here now. Sprint has a few pockets but not really reliable and TMobile is all Edge or GPRS. I hope they get something down here,id like to switch back to Tmo,i had them for 8 years before we moved here and had to switch for lack of coverage.

  • KingofPing

    “I’ve even heard reports from a few of you that as soon as you even drive just outside the city, LTE vanishes.”

    Multiple anecdotes != DATA.

    Just because you don’t see all of the people posting that actually *do* get TMo LTE outside the big city (or in the center of their manufacturing facilities surrounded by concrete and gigantic machines), doesn’t mean they do not exist. They do exist; and for all you know, in quantities far greater than those few who do end up posting about poor coverage.

    (That’s all I will say on the issue. Much of the “moar-coverage” crowd is loud, emotional, and cannot be talked down.)

    • Cam Bunton

      I agree. I totally get the “moar-coverage” crowd, but I also get that T-Mobile’s coverage maps may not be the most accurate way of telling what the real-world user is getting. In terms of data, we have RootMetrics reports stating that T-Mobile dropped call rate and network “quality” isn’t quite up to scratch yet. But it has improved massively over the past 12 months.

      My guess is that the complaints will grow much fewer and further between with time. Tmo is addressing the coverage issue, and it’s doing it fast.

      • maximus1901

        I don’t know how FAST its addressin it but something IS happening. Saginaw mi only has 2G on coverage map but sensorly says it was some LTE and 3G. Surprised TMO hasn’t upgraded their own maps.

        • Eric

          MetroPCS has LTE there, so it looks like they are adding 4G HSPA+/LTE.

        • KingofPing

          Same thing happened to me, actually. It took weeks before the map updated after our area showed LTE. They probably don’t show it on the map while it is being deployed/in testing (which can take a couple of weeks).

      • maximus1901

        Here’s a concrete example that I personally know of TMO’s strategy of “upgrade as little as possible”:
        In metro Detroit, there is a sprint tower – s4gru has all the locations – that will be eventually LTE’d. TMO has a tower right next to it and its 2G only. Why? Because this is 5 minute drive past the city limits.
        This is what people refer to as TMO’s “city only” LTE.

        • KingofPing

          Sucks to be in Detroit (which, lets face it, ain’t what it used to be…), but I live 40 minutes from the nearest large metro area and have LTE, so no…it’s not “City only”.

          Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t say more, but it’s been a slow day here…and reddit is in rare form (falling out of one’s chair while laughing is frowned upon at work for some reason) so I had to take a break… :P

        • besweeet

          If they added LTE to that 2G tower, people would want the next one to have LTE as well, and then the next one, and the next one… Hopefully they’ll get to the point where they could actually do that.

        • Justin747

          So what does that say about Sprint who will EVENTUALLY add LTE to a tower? Sprint LTE has been under construction for the last 4 years.

          Are they in the same “upgrade as little as possible” boat? Because Sprint service blows even where the “Network Vision” is complete.

        • WiWavelength

          Justin747, you demean others as Sprint fanboys, but you seem to be a T-Mobile fanboy. More damningly, you lack common facts. Sprint LTE has been “under construction” since 2012. That is less than two years, not four years. The LTE overlay across the entire Sprint network is not an “upgrade as little as possible” venture, and it will be finished next year. Additionally, how are you qualified to say that “Sprint service blows”?

          AJ

        • Justin747

          Never once did I “demean” anybody as a fanboy. I only called 1 person a fanboy and he has been trolling these comments all day. He is either a fanboy or just a troll.

          Sprint formally announced Network vision in December 2010. So i was incorrect. I should have said 3 years instead of 4. You got me there but 3 years is absurd when other carriers have did more in less time.

          I’m formally qualified to say Sprint service blows because I used it for 12 years and worked there for 8+ years. When you are on the inside of Sprint, you can easily see why they are dead last in many categories. Sprint is 100% about doing anything to get their # of subscribers up to look valuable to investors, no matter how shady or crooked it may be. Look no further than that silly Sprint Phone Connect deal that started last year. Forcing employees to sell known defective equipment just to meet unrealistic quotas is a horrible business practice.

          Sprint’s desperate attempt to add subscribers caused massive bottlenecks to their already ancient network. Now you have sites like S4GRU doing damage control to bring attention to the future of the Network.

          My last year there, the service was so bad IN THE ACTUAL SPRINT STORE I forfeited my free line and paid for a pre-paid AT&T line before porting my number over to T-Mobile.

          As far as me being a T-Mobile fanboy, I mean you are on a T-Mobile news site. You are OBVIOUSLY gonna run into T-Mobile fans here… I’m not necessarily a fanboy of any carrier, after 13 years of terrible Sprint service, it’s just nice to be able to have a consistent signal with my phone. It’s honestly sad seeing Sprint struggle, when its simply poor leadership that has them in the position they are n and will keep them in this position until they make a change.

        • WiWavelength

          Justin747, by using the fanboy card, you are trying to invalidate someone’s points. That is bad argumentation.

          Moreover, your facts are again wrong. Sprint announced Network Vision in fall 2011 and started work in winter/spring 2012. Swapping out older infrastructure and obtaining advanced backhaul takes time. Sprint has come a long way in the past two years, but it still has at least another six months to go.

          For an appropriate comparison, look at T-Mobile. After six years of W-CDMA deployment, it still has not overlaid its entire network. The GSM only sites are not lacking spectrum; they are lacking advanced backhaul. And T-Mobile does not have either the money or the desire to modernize them. So, six years for parts of the T-Mobile network versus two and a half years for the entire Sprint network, well, Sprint comes out looking more ambitious.

          As for S4GRU, it is a completely independent third party educational site. The data is available for those who wish to learn about Network Vision. Sure, it attracts primarily Sprint subs, but it is not intended as a recruitment nor “damage control” site.

          Finally, you may have been qualified to comment on Sprint service in your area in the past. But you did not sufficiently answer my question. How are you qualified to comment on Sprint service in general now? For the record, just as it might come up, I have lines on both Sprint and T-Mobile.

          AJ

        • Justin747

          Your 1st paragraph – newsroom(dot)sprint(dot)com/news-releases/sprint-announces-network-vision-network-evolution-plan(dot)htm

          There were a lot of internal grumblings about WiMax and LTE in early 2010. Network Vision was formally announced on December 6, 2010. In 2011 they put the fork in WiMax. In winter/sprint 2012 they deployed the 1st LTE site in Baltimore.

          Your 2nd paragraph – So now I have at least figured out you are a Sprint supporter because you started throwing out those Sprint buzzwords like “spectrum” and “backhaul.” Ok fine, T-Mobile had some past troubles. You can’t build a solid argument on which company failed the least. Sprint AND T-Mobile have had troubles.

          I dont care about Spectrum and backhaul and all those buzzwords. I don’t work in the cellular industry anymore. I just want something that works NOW and not potentially in the future and T-Mobile >> Sprint in every single place I have traveled.

          3rd paragraph – I know EXACTLY what S4GRU is intended to be, but whenever Sprint fanatics are doing damage control, they use S4GRU like wikipedia. I used S4GRU when I worked for Sprint quite a bit.

          4th paragraph – I’m qualified to speak on Sprint service because I used the service in almost every state from Indiana to the Pacific Ocean and in a few states in the south. I also have family that uses the service, and I still keep in contact with people I used to work with.

        • philyew

          While I think you are right that, for the present, TM has neither the money nor the desire to start a serious program building out its GSM sites, I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing.

          It is unfortunate that we can’t have a full, nationwide 4G network at a budget price, but there has to be some reality in the situation.

          While acknowledging that TM’s AWS holding is more extensive than I thought previously, I do think that there are still some large geographical areas where licenses do not appear to be held.

          Whether that is the case or not, however, since the vast majority of potential customers reside in those markets that TM has already built out with 4G (HSPA+ and LTE), it makes far more sense to spend available resources maximizing subscriptions in those areas, before investing in areas that carry both the highest cost of deployment as well as the lowest density of population.

          The resident population outside the 4G footprint is only about 87 million in total. The population inside the footprint, which does not use TM, is over 180 million. Even if the cost of delivering service was equal in all areas, it would therefore still make more sense to prioritize spending in the cities.

          If there is some lack of willingness on the part of urban dwellers to make the move to TM because of coverage concerns, I suspect that a good deal could be done to address that by extending the boundaries of the current 4G areas to include all suburbs and to cover main highways between larger population centers. Most of that will be within the range of existing fiber infrastructure.

        • Justin747

          Sprint fans have been screaming next year for the past 2 years. Even if they finish next year, where does that leave them? It’s not like the other 3 carriers are just gonna roll over at let Sprint play catch up?

          Sprint just needs to stop the promises and show results. Anybody remember Xohm?

          1 thing I find AMAZING is that people are perfectly OK paying full price for not full Sprint service. All it takes is a simple promise of better coverage in some random time in the future and people defend Sprint tooth and nail…

          Stockholm Syndrome maybe?

        • maximus1901

          Where is Network Vision complete?
          Please use the following to determine completion, not Sprint’s launch announcements:

          http://s4gru{DOT}com/index.php?/topic/212-network-visionlte-deployment-running-list/

          Sprint launches markets with LTE being 40-60% complete.

        • Justin747

          Here we go… Sprint guy using S4GRU like Wikipedia…

    • Brandon

      I get LTE in Vineland, NJ (half way in between Philadelphia, PA and Atlantic City, NJ) and I’m definitely not living in a big city. It’s not all over town but it is available, kind of spotty though.

      • Bori

        I was quite shocked when my brother who lives in Vineland told me they have it. He was even twice as shocked when I told him Cinci didn’t have any at all LOL.

        • Brandon

          Hahaha small world huh? I get EDGE over in Buena, a whole 5 miles away from where I live lol

        • Bori

          I know right? Lol. Very staggered, coverage there I guess.

    • maximus1901

      You’re right. The data is the coverage map which illustrates that LTE stops at the city limits.

      • KingofPing

        Haha…you’re so funny. Try looking through just a few of the comments regarding the coverage maps.

  • Rick Rudge

    I have to agree. Gimmicks like free this or that sounds okay in the advertisements, but the reality is, that people need good coverage. T-Mobile has been great about updating towers to HSPA+. That works great for my old iPhone4 (and I really appreciate T-Mobile for their work in this area of support), but I know that LTE is what the people who buy the latest and the greatest handsets want. I know that it’s not glamorous and you can’t exactly gloat about your improvements compared with the bigger carriers out there, but we customers really appreciate your efforts in this area.

    • maximus1901

      TMO at least should match Sprint’s coverage since Sprint is using PCS/AWS tower spacing.
      So good reason why TMO can’t have LTE AT LEAST everywhere Sprint is using AWS/PCS tower spacing.

      • fsured

        It doesn’t matter what another carrier has and wonder why T-Mobile can’t do the same. If T-Mobile doesn’t have the spectrum to cover an area then it’s a mute issue. When they have a solid plan to re-farm their 2g network or gain spectrum in the areas covered by only 2g then the upgrade will happen and the company will announce it.

        • maximus1901

          You think tmo’s AWS spectrum ends at the city limits? Check the FCC’s spectrum dashboard. TMO has nationwide AWS spectrum.

        • fsured

          But is it enough spectrum to run 2 different network signals and offer both signals enough quality? It may be worse to have 3g or 4g signal that would be completely useless because it can’t handle the load of people using it. Then have the back up 2g network degraded to the point where you can’t send normal txts or make calls. Last thing we want is jacked up 2g/3g/4g coverage areas outside of a city.

        • maximus1901

          TMO is already running THREE different network signals, as you state. In Detroit, my mom was using a Motozine – 2g only – on TMO where they have HSPA+ on AWS and PCS, LTE on AWS, and GSM on PCS.
          The signals are not “degraded” from having multiple technologies run on a tower.

        • fsured

          And Detroit is going to have the spectrum to run 3 solid network signals where trying to expand coverage to rual areas or highways may not. I can set my phone right now to pick up 2g, hspa+, or lte.

        • philyew

          According to the FCC site, TM owns AWS-1 licenses in 226 CMAs out of the 734 that make up the overall market (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico).

          It’s probably slightly more than that following spectrum swaps earlier in the year, because, if I recall correctly, HSPA+ is deployed in around 250 markets.

          That hardly fits the description “nationwide AWS spectrum”.

        • WiWavelength

          No, philyew, that is incorrect. T-Mobile has held a truly national spectrum portfolio since 2006. You are either not looking at the complete picture or misreading the FCC data. It is probably the former, as very little T-Mobile spectrum is licensed on a CMA basis. Most of it is licensed on an MTA, BTA, BEA, or REA basis.

          AJ

        • philyew

          I take your point. I had assumed that everything resolved into CMAs so that each carrier was talking a common language when describing markets.

          Unless there is a common denominator somewhere in there , the FCC model renders any meaningful comparison of coverage almost impossible.

        • philyew

          Taking your advice, I drilled down into the data a little more and can see that there are individual licenses covering much wider areas than individual CMAs.

          Even so, there do appear to be gaps where, for example, multiple licenses relate to a common Regional Economic Area, but not all counties within that REA are covered, and the gaps are not filled in through licenses assigned by BEA or CMA.

          I do think that when TM makes customer and investor facing statements about coverage, they are using CMAs as the unit of currency. For example, the Q3 2013 Investor Quarterly talked about “Nationwide 4G LTE network coverage with 203 million people covered in 254 metro areas.” By that I assume they mean MSAs, which correlate directly to CMAs.

          Then again, maybe you have some better information on that too?

          Thanks for the tutorial anyway. Always happy to learn.

        • WiWavelength

          philyew, T-Mobile came away from the FCC AWS-1 auction in 2006 with a total national footprint to a bandwidth depth of at least 10 MHz. It was the only licensee to acquire a complete collection of licenses. For several years, AWS-1 licensing remained simple and straightforward because the band was underutilized. Now, it is fragmented to hell largely due to the myriad spectrum transactions among T-Mobile, AT&T, VZW, etc.

          So, I can no longer vouch that T-Mobile holds AWS-1 spectrum in every single county in the lower 48 states. But I can say that spectrum constraints are not the reason why T-Mobile has not extended LTE nor W-CDMA to its GSM only footprint. Budget and backhaul are the two reasons why.

          AJ

        • philyew

          I agreed with this assessment in my reply to one of your other posts.

          Thanks for adding some valuable information, even if it was correcting errors on my part :-)

  • kpb321

    T-Mobile’s LTE coverage isn’t as good as Verizon’s LTE but I’d sure as heck rather fall back to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network than Verizon’s CDMA.

    Yes, T-Mobile should continue expanding LTE.
    Yes, T-Mobile should be looking for some good Low frequency bands to get solid coverage.
    But, I think they biggest thing they need to do is actually upgrade those areas that are sub HSPA+ as Edge is just bad and there isn’t at good reason not to upgrade these.

    • Cam Bunton

      That is a very good point. HSPA+ is a much better fall-back option. But, with VZW’s LTE being so widespread, the need to fall back isn’t as great.

      • kpb321

        Agreed. Verizon’s coverage is pretty solid on LTE but it is really painful when it has to fall back. I’ve got a iPhone 5s on Verizon for my work phone and have seen some cases where it does fall back and the data speed difference is pretty noticeable. On the other hand LTE doesn’t really feel that much different than HSPA+ did on T-mobile. Yeah, it is faster if you run a download test or are downloading something huge but otherwise it isn’t really noticeable to me.

      • philyew

        Does VZW use something other than CSFB when handling data during an active call? If not then right now it doesn’t matter how widespread their LTE network is, every time someone wants to to talk and use data simultaneously, they have to drop LTE and use whatever the carrier’s fall back network happens to be.

        • WiWavelength

          philyew, VZW handsets do not use e/CSFB. They are dual RF path devices that support SVLTE.

          AJ

        • philyew

          Thanks for answering my question.

        • maximus1901

          Except for iphone ;)

    • Hell id be happy with HSPA or 3G in my area. Its only Edge or GPRS where im at.

      • sahib102 .

        I second this!!! id be happy with just 3g :D

    • maximus1901

      Money is a good reason not to upgrade these. Do you know how much ONE basestation costs? Tens of thousands.
      TMO is investing what its revenue stream is supporting.

      • kpb321

        But until Tmobile moves to Voice over LTE and has a solid base of phones with that support they need something else for phones to fall back to when making calls and falling back to HSPA+ for data when making calls is much better than Edge so I this is really something they need anyway.

    • Justin747

      I guess it’s true Verizon’s coverage has more reach, but it STRUGGLES in populated areas.

      I have a Verizon Galaxy S3 (work phone) in one hand and a Nexus 5 (personal phone) in the other hand.

      The Verizon phone has 1 bar while my Nexus is full 4.

      Speed Test:

      Verizon = 1.5 mbps
      T-Mobile = 15.5 mbps.

      I get results like this all across SoCal.

  • macman37

    Cam,

    I agree with you that a resolution of expanding LTE coverage, as well as HSPA+ coverage should be the focus. You made a great point that T-Mobile should consider merging or being acquired by the Dish Network, so that telecommunication services can be bundled with entertainment services. AT&T and Verizon already bundle theirs with their own or another party like Comcast or Dish Network. Having T-Mobile be acquired or merged with the Dish Network would be more favored by T-Mobile USA subscribers than an being acquired by Softbank/Sprint.

    • Stone Cold

      Not a fan of either but I also understand the position TMUS is in as far as the spectrum goes Dish would be the road for TMUS to travel.

  • Eric

    What T-Mobile needs is low-frequency spectrum that is compatible with current phones to start covering rural areas and have better building penetration. Also more high-frequency spectrum for even more capacity in large cities.

    Also to kill off EDGE 100% and start throttling to HSPA+ or even do a very bold move and give everyone free unlimited data.

    • besweeet

      That could be a while. Spectrum just doesn’t grow on trees. From what I understand, the spectrum that Verizon is selling will only benefit those in areas that already have at least 3G, so rural coverage won’t change (much) from this. Could be wrong, though.

      • sahib102 .

        well there goes the last hope I had for 3g in my area. while the cities around me all have lte, im stuck with 2g :( maybe 2015 they will upgrade 2g to 3g or maybe lte :D?

        • besweeet

          I can definitely see them upgrading more aggressively a few years down the road, just nothing in the immediate future would be my guess. Blame the government, I think.

    • maximus1901

      The only spectrum that would be immediately useful is ATT’s band 17 since all TMO lte phone support band 17. ATT is not gonna sell, an understatement.

  • maximus1901

    What I want for the new year is for you to stop pretending that you live in America and that this merger actually affects you. Seriously.
    Just stop.

    • Toasty

      get out of here. take your hate somewhere else

    • jarrod

      Since when has he stated he resides in the United States? He has acknowledge their general pitfall from the regular users of this site and determined their coverage would be a great 2014 project.

    • donnybee

      Cam is here to represent T-Mobile on a T-Mobile blog. I actually have to give him props for putting himself in our shoes and trying his best to understand where we stand. He can’t be perfect, but I’d say hes doing a pretty great job of taking our vision and being a voice for us. Take your attitude somewhere else, man.

  • maximus1901

    When TMO purchases band 12 and deploys it, people are gonna be mighty pissed that you have to get a new phone to support it.
    Nevermind the valid technical and commercial reasons, it’ll be interesting to see TMO spin it.

    • besweeet

      By the time they get ready to deploy it, a lot of people would probably want to get a new phone anyway, which most newer devices should support.

      • Justin747

        Check his comments on this page.

        He’s a Sprint Spark fanboy. Don’t feed the troll.

        • maximus1901

          I want both carriers to remain separate so we can have unlimited data forever. If TMO goes, Sprint will eventually stop unlimited then H20 wireless will stop unlimited then prices will increase.

      • maximus1901

        That’s always true: people are always upgrading to a new phone. Doesn’t mean the deployment of Band 12 will trigger a higher than normal upgrade rate.

  • Brandon

    I switched to T-Mobile a few months ago and I love it but it does suck when I drop from LTE to HSPA to EDGE in the span of a few miles. At my house it regularly cycles between the three and only 5 miles away from my house I’m down to EDGE, which is really annoying when I’m listening to a radio show on my phone when I wake up, then have to switch to the radio in my car when the coverage drops and then I lose a few minutes because there’s a delay in the streaming show compared to the actual radio.

    • Depending on which phone you have, you can force it to not connect to GSM/EDGE and only connect to UMTS/HSPA+ and UMTS/LTE.

      • Alex Zapata

        I remember doing this on my old S3. Very useful!

  • jay

    Living in PA you either have edge or down the road in Brodheadsville you have any 4g. But that’s really it in my area. Edge sucks so bad I can’t even use Google maps to search for anything. I commute to Dover nj where there is LTE, so it’s cool but take route 80 home and bam edge. Sure it’s nice to be able to text and call, but I’m paying extra for unlimited data and can’t take advantage when I’m home. I left Verizon to come to tmobile, when you go from the best to mediocre, I feel like I didn’t think things through. What good is all the bells and whistles when in reality coverage is sub par. Sprint has my area covered solid. I feel like every time I look at my phone and see edge, that’s my oh sh*t moment, which is constantly. Just frustrated, not gonna leave them, just don’t care if nyc has lte. We need more solid rural coverage

    • Justin747

      “Sprint has my area covered solid…”

      You might be the one person in the United States of America to make this statement…

      What area do you live in?

      • jay

        I live in Effort PA, where i live a road call Merwinsburg road, i have nothing with tmobile, data or calling coverage. My brother in law who has sprint has 3g. Look I’m not saying anything negative, just stating fact, this road i am talking about has tons of accidents, if by some bad luck i get into a accident, I’m pretty much dead. If it wasnt for the signal booster from Tmobile i wouldn’t have coverage at all in my house. Everything around me at least may have edge. Allentown is LTE, Brodheadsville down the street from me is Hspa, Kunkletown Is Hspa. I can’t stream music until my drive into work and i hit NJ. I’m either Edge or “G” on my way in. Stroudsburg PA is just Edge. Yet where i work in Dover NJ, 07801 Tmobile rules, just got 40 down 16 up. just saying LTE is great, but we as consumers need at least HSPA+. Thats way faster than my old Verizon 3g and yes way faster than sprint 3g. If you want to look it up my zip is 18330, look for Merwinsburg Road. Dead zone for Tmobile covered with 3g on Sprint.

    • TBN27

      I can relate. Across jersey on I-80 there LTE until I get close to the water gap. Going up into the hills in Tamiment, PA The only company that works is Verizon. If I lived out there unfortunately verizon would be no choice carrier. And that’s what my cousins have done dice they bought houses there. They switched to verizon because it is the only one that works there.

  • maximus1901

    TMUS is NOT in it for the long haul; you mentioned the $39bil buyout yourself. Ummm HELLO!? It’s like you’re writing a badly fact-checked “muster the troops” speech. Lol.
    And do you think there’d be talk of Softy going to six banks for $$$ if DT simply said “no thanks Softy”.
    You’re playing to the emotions of this site’s visitors.

    • donnybee

      First, they won’t say that because stock prices are rising with the rumors of a buyout. I don’t really blame them, even if I don’t wan’t T-Mobile to be bought.

      Second, have you thought that maybe they also want to entertain the idea in the minds of those at SoftBank? We all know that if SoftBank wanted to bid, the FCC would throw a fit, and I’m sure DT knows this as well. Let’s look at it as the AT&T buyout: entertain the thought, then throw in a buyout failure clause – I’m thinking some $$ and some spectrum! Your pessimistic views aren’t completely valid here.

      • maximus1901

        They don’t play around like that at that level. If Sprint thinks DT played them for the breakup fee, the lawyers will get rich. And if you or I were able to deduce this, I think a bunch of people with JDs and MBAs can also.

    • philyew

      According to market watchers at the time, DT were in talks with Sprint right before AT&T stepped in with their $39 billion takeover bid.

      There’s a history of DT using Sprint to work up other market interest. Don’t be surprised if Dish emerge more strongly as a suitor in the coming days.

    • Stone Cold

      We all know DT has wanted to part with TMUS. I believe TMUS is still for sale for the right price. But at the same time I believe TMUS is the best thing DT has going for them right now.

      • maximus1901

        How much profit has been distributed to DT recently?
        DT doesn’t care that TMUS added 600k postpaid. They care how much dividends TMUS is provided. Answer is 0.
        The only way they’re making money is because of stock appreciation but they can’t realize those profits unless they sell the stock. They can sell all of it before nov 1 or as they see fit after nov 1

        • Stone Cold

          I cannot answer any o f those questions. Just stating my opinion.

        • maximus1901

          But how is it the “best thing to have happened to it”?
          If DT could only get LESS money, from ATT, than it sunk into it . . . then it’s not the best thing.

        • Stone Cold

          I never said it was the best thing have happened to it. I said I think TMUS is the best thing going for it right now. I could be wrong but was just stating my opinion.

  • fsured

    It would be nice if any part of any Uncarrier 4.0 would be international versions of phones sold by the company. A pain point of customers now is how long it takes manufactures to update their software and include the bloat that carriers want added. Example is the Sony Xperia Z which in November just got updated to Android 4.2, not even the latest version of 4.2 either. Sony has released the software update to 4.3 last week and who knows how long it is going to take T-Mobile to add their software, test it, send it back to Sony for approval, etc. There is only a matter of time for KitKat to be released for Samsung and HTC phones which would probably take precedence over the Z from the carrier.

    It would be another defining moment if the handsets T-Mobile starts to sell are the ones that get updated with new versions of Android once the OEM is done updating the software for it. All carrier applications can then be downloaded on their own if the customer chooses. That is something the other 3 carriers are not doing that would attract customers.

    • philyew

      It’s actually taken a step down that path by being the only carrier to sell the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 devices. But don’t forget that Jump! somewhat overcomes the update lag issue for the most eager customers, who can use it to update to a new phone whenever a new OS becomes available.

      If any of the bloat represents viable revenue, from streaming services for example, then carrier versions are not going to disappear entirely.

      • Stone Cold

        Don’t see how the bloatware would be viable revenue.

        • philyew

          It’s a while since I had any bloatware on my phone, having used custom ROMs and then moved to Nexus, but I do remember that there used to be a couple of subscription services for media and navigation that would have provided some revenue to TM, even if the majority went to a third party.

          All I meant was that they have been exploring the market for revenue generating options, and if anything looks rewarding, they will probably stick with the bloatware model.

          They will also make money by people flipping phones every 6-12 months, which – for them – may be a preferable option to the cost of supporting and managing an over-the-air OS update program, with or without bloatware to contend with.

        • fsured

          The T-Mobile Tv app would be an example. It is a monthly flat rate subscription. Someone may use it a few times and forget it is there. Billing department didn’t forget.

        • Rudy Belova

          The nice thing is i now get an SMS Telling me how much i have in premium charges a few times a month. It was very helpful to realize i still had the tv app subscription actually!

        • Stone Cold

          I forget about this and the caller id app.

      • fsured

        You bring up a good point with Jump! and I forgot about it. But there are customers who like their phones and may not take advantage of it. I’m loving my Xperia Z and the only phone I would actually consider trading it in for right now would be the smaller version of the Z1 if it comes state side. I prefer the smaller screens around 4.5”. When it gets hard to dial numbers or use the phone with one hand then it’s too big for me.

        Selling phones this way could also help the resale since the phones would get updated to the newest versions of Android quicker for who ever buys it used.

        • philyew

          It’s not that I’m against the idea of being able to update devices more rapidly, but I think that a number of updates have been absolute nightmares from a management and support point of view – particularly if done over-the-air.

          I’ve always felt that the share of the market actively interested in regular updates is very small in proportion to the noise that they generate in pursuit of their objective (no disrespect intended, I used to be one of them).

          Altogether, I just think that TM have taken a number of steps to reduce the demand for device updates, which will reduce costs by not having to process all the soft bricked devices that have been experienced by ordinary customers who know little or nothing about OS versions and care even less until their phone stops working.

    • josephsinger

      If you want an Android phone you have to accept that OS upgrades have to go through the carrier upgrade/approval process. iOS is in its 7th iteration and happens usually around once a year.

      • fsured

        Buy a unbranded version of the phone and the update can be downloaded to the device as soon as the OEM is finished with the software for it and releases it. It is carrier specific sold devices that take longer. The carrier portion adds extra time to the process as they need to test it, then send it back to the OEM to get repackaged etc.

  • Christopher_McG

    First of all, anyone with experience with Verizon’s LTE network knows that the map is a blatant lie. Their 1900MHz 3G EV-DO covers way more area than their 700MHz LTE network.

    Second of all, we need more customers for more investments but things could be worse, we could be where Sprint is at now. Upgrading small towns and cities only because it’s 10x quicker while the rest of the US pop suffers with horrendous in-city service.

    • maximus1901

      Which came first: the customers or the network investments?
      The reason TMO bought metro is because of customers – scale. Also so they can have a way of going public without the rigors of an ipo

      • Christopher_McG

        We merged with Metro for the spectrum, which was always the highlight of the merger. Getting the customers and eliminating them as a direct competitor in many markets is just a huge plus.

        • philyew

          The deal certainly wouldn’t have happened without the spectrum, but don’t underestimate the value of TM being able to walk into a public listing on the NYSE through the deal. That has enabled raising $4 billion which can be used on spectrum acquisitions.

        • maximus1901

          It could’ve just gone public on its own.

        • philyew

          You said yourself that it allowed them to go public without the rigors of an IPO. I was agreeing with you. Lol!

    • maximus1901

      S4gru has a market by market status of sprint’s network upgrades. Can’t post link cause it’ll get deleted.
      In 3 months another huge batch of big markets will get done (including Detroit).
      In 6 months, everything except Hawaii will be done.

      • {DOT}

        Please post it just change the . in the url to {DOT}

        • maximus1901

          http://s4gru{DOT}com/index.php?/topic/212-network-visionlte-deployment-running-list/

        • philyew

          So, correct me if I’m wrong, but this site reports progress on the 99 markets that have currently been announced as part of the Network Vision/LTE program. Presumably these conform to the FCC’s definition of Cellular Market Areas.

          Is there anywhere that reports on plans for the other 623 CMAs that make up the US market?

        • WiWavelength

          philyew, Sprint holds no spectrum licenses that are CMA based. So, in this case, you can use CMAs to number markets, but that is about it. Additionally, Sprint’s Network Vision initiative is replacing infrastructure and backhaul at all sites in all markets. S4GRU is the third party educational site that covers the Network Vision deployment across the country.

          AJ

        • Guest

          I don’t follow you. I can use the spectrum dashboard to find licenses held by Sprint (listed under Sprint Nextel and Clearwire). In what way do those licenses not relate to Cellular Market Areas like all other spectrum managed by the FCC?

          I understand the objective of Network Vision, but I had also understood from previous comments made by maximus1901 that the progress being reported at S4GRU was sourced from within Sprint and that the full program would be completed in 2014.

          However, since the reports at S4GRU cover only 99 CMAs, it is hard to believe that the full Network Vision program for over 730 CMAs will even get under way in 2014, let alone be completed.

        • WiWavelength

          philyew, again you are inappropriately using CMAs as the standard. They directly apply only to those services (e.g. Cellular 850 MHz A/B block, AWS 2100+1700 MHz A block, Lower 700 MHz B/C block) that are licensed on a CMA basis. So, using CMA as some generic wireless market indicator does not necessarily work in every situation.

          As for S4GRU, it covers all Sprint markets, which include all or parts of far greater than 99 CMAs. I believe you are confusing internal Sprint markets with CMAs. You can find the internal Sprint market map here:

          http://s4gru{dot}com/index.php?/page/index.html/_/articles/nationwide-sprint-market-map-is-here-r31

          AJ

        • philyew

          Yes, I’ve withdraw my previous comment. Thanks for clarifying what I had understood to be a method determined by the FCC for allowing the consumer to make measurable comparisons between coverage in different areas.

          It really is a nonsense if each carrier is allowed to define their own markets when facing the customer. I understand how internal management may require the map to be segmented differently for business reasons, but there should be some common standard by which relative coverage can be understood by the consumer.

        • philyew

          So, just to clarify, what proportion of total national market do the 99 markets that are listed actually represent?

          I had understood from maximus1901’s previous comments that this site reported the progress on the whole Network Vision program and that it would be fully completed in 2014, but from what I see there, that won’t be possible.

        • maximus1901

          Go to S4gru

          Top bar > the gallery

          You’ll find a bunch of maps and two of them will be the nationwide, county-level map.

          The full resolution map is:

          http://s4gru{DOT}herronweb{DOT}com/herronweb/s4gru/images/SprintMarketMap10MAR2012{DOT}jpg

          Available once you click on one of the two aforementioned maps.

        • philyew

          Thanks. After reading AJ’s comments it became clear that Sprint’s use of the term “markets” in this context referred to internally defined geographical areas. Nothing wrong with that in internal communications, of course.

          What I would hope to see, but am not sure it happens, is that all carriers should use a common market unit when describing coverage to their current and potential customers. I believe that TM uses CMAs, which by chance I think is the most sensible unit to use. Hopefully, the others do the same.

        • maximus1901

          Sprint uses its own divisions of markets. That’s why there’s 99.

  • alex

    Im getting like 5 down and 2 up with Tmobile on average.Yeah i know its not fast but i have no problem with any streaming application.So speed is more then enough for me.Paying half what i was paying with verizon.

  • Alex Zapata

    One important factor to consider in the coverage issue is the cost of backhaul. Whether by fiber or microwave these towers need it. I wonder if the LTE relay feature would help with this…. I’ll have to go read through my stack of papers on LTE-A.

    • Cam Bunton

      Hahaha.. You do that. Let me know what you find. :-)

    • maximus1901

      How did Sprint do it?
      1) open checkbook
      2) pay people

      • Alex Zapata

        I don’t think I ever debated that….

  • donnybee

    The reason I don’t care too much for the Dish buyout option is that although they do have spectrum, it’s only going to bring 5mhz nationwide. Yes this is good to have, but I believe the bad of having Dish as the owner outweighs the good they could provide to T-Mobile.

    I hope SoftBank makes a serious bid, and T-Mobile throws another failure clause in the contract so when it gets shot down, which we all basically know will happen, T-Mobile walks away with a sweet stack of cash and hopefully spectrum.

  • TmoJohnstownCustomer

    I have two comments/questions to post here:
    1. I no longer see any GPRS. It is all EDGE now. Anyone else notice this? I live in western/central PA. I haven’t seen any extension of 4G beyond the old footprint. LTE is awesome in Pittsburgh but i only go there several times a year.
    2. I have one of the old prepaid plans which always had zero roaming (only talk and text). Last week i had AT&T EDGE where i usually had no data. I haven’t seen anything saying they were adding data roaming to the non-simplechoice plans. If only I would roam everywhere their coverage map claims i have roaming… Anyone else with prepaid notice roaming data now?

    I completely agree with the coverage issue. I live in an EDGE market. Everyone claims lack of spectrum as the reason Tmo is not building out. They only have one block of 1900 (used for 2G) spectrum but they own every block of AWS spectrum in my market and have zero 4G. I know low band spectrum is needed badly but they should at least upgrade some of the more populated areas beyond major cities.

    • donnybee

      I agree. If T-Mobile already owns the spectrum in an area, but isn’t utilizing it, they need to come up with a plan of action immediately to start implementing more coverage – at the very least to HSPA+.

      Once T-Mobile has a plan, they need to make it public. Just like they did with the LTE rollout. They made it public and therefore were accountable for it happening. They ended up beating their projected goals. This needs to happen with coverage ASAP to get rid of EDGE.

      • maximus1901

        The only “plan” they need has two steps:
        1) take out their checkbook
        2) write a check to Nokia Solutions Networks
        3) write a check to Ericsson

        Presto chango!

  • DT_Man

    Here are my thoughts for next year: (Highest to Lowest)

    1) DT support T-Mobile in the long haul (investing more capital into the infrastructure of T-Mobile US)
    2) If option 1 is valid, acquiring Low Band Spectrum by either buying them from other carriers or at least renting/leasing out from spectrum providers offering them
    3) Expansion coverage to rural/urban areas
    4) Converting 2G EDGE to at least HSPA+

    If DT is not in it for the long haul with TMO US, than at least partnering if not acquired by Dish would be the lesser of two evils compared to being acquired by Sprint/Softbank (worse case scenario)

    • maximus1901

      The lesser of the evils, according to DT, is to lose the least money. Dish is free to bid against Sprint for TMO. And Sprint is free to screw over Dish just like Dish screwed over Sprint by costing it $3bil in capital.

  • Mario

    My LTE coverage strength is only one bar 90% of the time as soon as I walk into any building. Needs to be improved.

  • Dark enV

    I switched to T-Mobile from Sprint in September and I’m very pleased with them though they aren’t perfect. The resolution I’d like to see is definitely more coverage as well. Where I live I get LTE and I love it but almost instantly when I enter in a building like at work I’m dropped to EDGE most of the time and it can get really annoying. Same thing when I drive to my friends house about 20 miles outside of town, it’s solid EDGE, GPRS, or NO SERVICE. I just took a trip to Tennessee from South Carolina and that’s where it was the worst. Had LTE for about 15 min of the ride, 4G for 30 min, then EDGE for 1hr and 20 min and NO SERVICE for the rest. Not gonna lie I was pretty frustrated. But again all in all for where I’m at the majority of the time I love it. If they can get some of the lower frequency spectrum they can really start turning heads, they’ve got the great speeds, now they just need to get the coverage in more places, especially in buildings and rural areas.

  • I think the worst possible idea is a Sprint Merger. They couldn’t even deal with the Nextel integration. It almost killed their company. On top of that, FCC has stated that 4 carriers are preferable to 3,as stated in their opinion to block the T-Mobile & ATT merger. I doubt that they’ll like a foreign company having possibly 1/3 of the wireless industry in America. I believe that since Dish is an American company that the regulators would approve that more quickly than Softbank/Sprint. I don’t think one company with TV and phone is an issue as Verizion and ATT have Landline,Wireless and Video offerings as well.I just wonder how ATT and Verizon will approach it. As the FCC asks other carriers input as well.

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      Basically controlling half

      • maximus1901

        So what? Do you only buy American-made parts? I guess you only buy Moto X because it’s made in Texas, right?
        Or you refuse to have Verizon until Vodafone sells its 45% stake?
        Or we could all just live in the 21st century.
        Dish is free to make a serious bid for TMO. So let it.
        P.S. I drive a 2004 Corolla.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Im not the one whos complaining

  • Oliver Jackson

    Coverage and lower frequency spectrum is the deal here.TMo will get that with Verizon .As for reaching into rural and other areas,Sprint is not the answer. DISH will be my choice as they will give Verizon and Comcast/Xfinity a run

    • maximus1901

      $10/month for 12 months convinces people to choose Verizon+Comcast?

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Better signal penetration and at least hspa along the freeways llike sprint has with edvo

    • wrong

      Sprint does not have any hspa…

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        gee really?

        Coverage dude coverage

      • WiWavelength

        That Sprint does not have any 3G W-CDMA (HSPA) is not the point. Sprint has long had 3G EV-DO across its footprint and will finish overlaying 4G LTE across its footprint next year. T-Mobile has made no similar commitment to extend 3G/4G services beyond those largely urban sites where it has obtained advanced backhaul.

        AJ

        • maximus1901

          Hey AJ! (from s4gru com)
          TMUS will have PLENTY of money to upgrade from the nice breakup fee that Sonny boy will fork over. Boy will it be embarrassing for him!

  • vrm

    how about survival, survival, survival ?

    At this point, the question is to be or not to be ?!

  • Justin747

    Maybe my phone is defective, or maybe it’s just my location, but Verizon ‘s coverage isn’t all that impressive in SoCal.

    My work phone is a Verizon Galaxy S3.
    My personal phone is a T-Mobile Nexus 5.

    I haven’t tested it too far outside of the well populated areas, but indoors my Verizon phone straight up struggles to get one signal bar while my Nexus usually has dull signal, but rarely less than 2.

    I try not too rely too much on speed tests but my Verizon work phone gets consistently lower speeds than T-Mobile.

    T-Mobile speed tests usually get around 15-25 mbps with my high score being 50 mbps in Lawndale, CA. My Verizon speed test average around 2-5 mbps with the high speed being around 20 mbps in Beverly Hills. (I drive all around LA for my job)

    My Verizon phone also has trouble with downloading apps and navigation. I guess everybody’s milage may vary, but I haven’t been impressed by Verizon’s coverage in SoCal at all. I almost always just ending up using my T-Mobile phone because it has coverage while the Verizon phone is bouncing back and forth between LTE and EVDO

    • Rudy Belova

      I’ve found Verizon to be excellent in the more rural areas. I have an verizon mifi i use in rural illinois that obviously blows t-mobile out of the water out there but head towards chicago and it gets worse. It’s not slow but not wonderful either

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      Thats the point noone gets milage varies alot by location

  • cnslr81

    Coverage is a must! Since moving to Upstate NY, I have been extremely disappointed with T-Mobile and want to leave once my contract expires. I have coverage where I live, but could drive 15-20 minutes away and I am lucky if I’m even roaming.

    • diGenius

      @cnslr81 I’m also facing the same coverage area problem up in CNY, I get LTE in SYR but home in Oswego no coverage and the WiFi calling feature is ok but not reliable especially for voice call it keeps echoing back at u, if I can get at least 2G at home I’m good.

  • name

    how do you know cam you dont live in the U.S.

    • 21stNow

      Google is Cam’s friend.

    • GinaDee

      Dude get off David’s jock already. He’s gone.

      Cam is providing articles for discussion. You obviously took the time to respond so it must be somewhat important to you.

    • philyew

      How do you think David came by the vast majority of his information? If not by scouring the Internet, then by stuff that will have been submitted/leaked to him via the Submit News button on this page, or by email.

      Here’s something that might shock you – the Internet and email work just as well in Europe as they do here.

      Over the years, David will have accumulated some personal contacts that would only deal with him….i.e. they probably wouldn’t rush to work with ANY successor, whether in Europe or the USA.

      The amount that is lost by having an editor located in Europe is going to be barely less than what would be lost in any transition. You need to get over it.

    • Alex Zapata

      Cool story bro.

  • Stone Cold

    For me first boost the rural coverage. I would like to see more handsets Tired of only LG, Samsung, HTC. Yes they are the top 3 names in android OEM’s but there are other phones the world get that we never see They need to make nice with Motorola so they can get first access to things like the Moto X and any other phone they put out.

    • philyew

      Even if TM are no longer subsidizing phones (and recovering the subsidy over the course of a contract) they still have to be conscious of the prices that they pay for the devices they offer. The more variety of choices they offer, the fewer units of each device will be sold, which will impact wholesale prices from the manufacturers.

      Since the margin between wholesale prices and MSRP covers not only TM’s profit, but also their logistics, marketing, sales & support overheads they will always be inclined to limit the range of direct offerings, while supporting the BYOD model for anything that will work on the network.

    • fsured

      Have you seen some of those phones coming out of China? I would buy one of those over a Samsung for sure. There is a true octa-core Android phone recently released that is amazing. So what if the cpu isn’t a Snapdragon and is made by MediaTek. Some of the bench marks do fall under the very top level phones out right now but the scores are right up at the top. The phone really surpasses pretty much everything except the Note 3 when it comes to every day use. Downside is battery life but every smart phone has a downside and battery life is right at the top of the list. It’s a shame that the modem in the phone doesn’t offer much compatibility with carriers here in the states.

      The phone is the THL T100S. Google it. We are limited in what is sold here from the types of networks used in the US.

      • pfloyd09

        There is more to a phone than the number of cores. Connectivity seems an issue…

        Cellular: 2G – GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz and 3G – WCDMA 850/2100 MHz

        Quad core phones provide PLENTY of power for a mobile device in today’s world, and frankly I don’t understand why someone would need MORE cores in their phone at this point. I don’t mean forever, but right now. Are there people out there running apps on their phones like servers, SETI@home, or some other really power-hungry app? Aside from bragging rights, how does 8 cores benefit anyone over 4 cores RIGHT NOW unless they are designed to improve battery life? I am a 20+-year IT guy, and I work at a fortune 100 tech company, and nobody I know really NEEDS more power than what they have on their HTC One, S4, or S3.

        I would prefer to see a phone remain as powerful as now, but have 10x the battery life, and maybe a better camera – an I don’t simply mean packing in more pixels. There’s much more to producing a good image than just number of pixels.

        • fsured

          :) I agree. Just stating that there are devices in other parts of the world that are really cool. Some people need that latest greatest. To them a fully functional 8core would be a bragging item. I don’t need it but it would be nice to have a selection other than Samsung or HTC. Part of the reason I went with Sony.

      • Stone Cold

        I have been seeing a lot of phones I’d love to see here.

  • Add 250 more markets and get low frequency bandwidth in 2014! Bring it on home T-Mobile!

  • GinaDee

    Yes Cam good points.

    T-Mobile’s aim is to increase subscriber base and steal customers from AT&T and Verizon. They will need to address the rural data coverage.

    Truth be told T-Mobile has a lot more “coverage,” than people realize it’s just that it’s 2G on routes that connect big cities. They have the infrastructure in place already to support high band 2G data. It’s a matter of upgrading these sites to LTE and/or HSPA+ and getting backhaul out there.

    If they have the cash and it’s true that they are interested in low band spectrum we night see a start of this in 2014. Good news for T-Mobile users and those thinking of switching from bigger carriers.

  • ggfb20

    I really believe VoLTE can be the ultimate solution to coverage issues and data issues. In fact it almost seems as if T-Mobile knows as much and with the rumors going around indicating all customers will be eligible for $0 down on devices that seems to be a step towards VoLTE imo. If T-Mobile rolled out VoLTE across the country it would surely spell the end of edge, hspa, and hspa+. T-Mobile would be able to gradually upgrade each and every single tower they own to the new VoLTE allowing data and voice calls over lte and ensuring that all customers can upgrade to lte/VoLTE devices at a no up front out of pocket cost. When you think about it tmobile coverage is actually good on gprs and edge so it should be equally good when those towers are switched to VoLTE 20+20. They already have a headstart thanks to the metro pcs acquisition as metro already had VoLTE rolled out in some areas. Also the 20+20 mimo should make the reception stronger all over including indoors.

    Sorry for being lazy and not separating the paragraphs, but seriously what do you think? Are my thoughts realistic? I haven’t heard Cam or David touch on it and would actually like to see an article here at tmonews that reverberates said topic.

    • kevev

      “When you think about it tmobile coverage is actually good on gprs and edge so it should be equally good when those towers are switched to VoLTE 20+20.”

      False buddy. GPRS & EDGE show more signal bars because the “signal bars” are misleading. The bars show the percentage change of you successfully sending/receiving data to/from all the towers you are currently connected to. It does not always mean that the signal is strong, even though that is part of the equation when the radio software calculates the signal quality. GPRS & EDGE are more forgiving with packet loss compared to LTE because of less data compression(Think .zip files). If you loose a few bits from a 700MB video file I bet you will not notice. But if that file were ziped, tar’d, rar’d, and you lost a few bits of that now 100MB file you would definitely notice. You would not be able to uncompress and read any of the data. And if you magically could, huge chunks would be missing. This is the price we pay with higher compression. We save limited spectrum and battery life. Also, GPRS & EDGE utilize the 1900Mhz spectrum as apposed to the 17//2100Mhz spectrum. 2100Mhz does not penetrate solid objects as well as 1900Mhz.

      Your marketing idea of VoLTE for all would be super awesome! Unlimited data, and use it as you wish. I would switch to Google Voice in a New York minute. :p

      • ggfb20

        I’ve already switched to Google Voice and when in stable lte areas I use apps such as Groove IP for my voice calls. Tmobile lte upload speeds are much faster and stable than the download speeds in my area. Well the dl peaks are higher but they vary from even block to block, plus voip only needs a 1-2 upload speed to be successful. I average a 21 upload speed in my area even with 1 bar of lte.

        And as I’ve said to the other person who commented on my reply I apologize for not totally breaking down the technicalities of said transition I do think we can all agree that better coverage in all locations is needed before tmobile can even think of rolling with the big boys and gals.

        • kevev

          Agreed :D

    • philyew

      You have to have deployed an LTE data network in order to use VoLTE for your voice services. All of the issues that currently stand in the way of deploying LTE (i.e. spectrum, backhaul, investment, schedule) have to be addressed before the new voice carrier service can be used.

      The transitional process for deploying 4G services while still supporting existing customer needs also requires that alternative voice carrier strategies are maintained.

      VoLTE is therefore a dependent, rather than an enabling technology when it comes to coverage and data issues.

      • ggfb20

        Yes I know that it’s far more complicated than you and I both have touched on but imo it VoLTE is a game changer. Right now even if you are in an lte area soon as you make a call your data has to drop lte. With VoLTE everything will use lte calls and data, plus VoLTE is acutially less power hungry than current waves that voice travel over. I think the first to the market with VoLTE will set the trend and pull customers in from all other carriers. Most people have no clue what VoLTE can offer but it’s no doubt the future of the mobile industry.

        • philyew

          I don’t disagree that VoLTE has significant potential in evolved markets, but my point was that it doesn’t enable coverage improvements, which was, I thought, the main thrust of your comment.

          Even though the data network falls back to WCDMA during calls, I am still able to get upwards of 6mbps download during the course of a call. I’m not sure how many people will consider that a real encumbrance for the foreseeable future.

          Power drain and the length of time it takes to reattach to LTE after a call is terminated may be more significant.

        • ggfb20

          Well my thought was in response to most people complaining rightfully so on here not that they don’t have reception at all, but that the data portion of said reception is painfully slow. So with that being said I was just suggesting that perhaps those issues could be solved by upgrading those edge and other towers to lte towers, while simultaneously adding the VoLTE. Clearly from a spectrum perspective they can only have one or the other in those areas right now and perhaps forever so it might as well be lte over edge. Also by adding 20+20 doesn’t that enable greater signal strength, so implement all three simultaneously lte, VoLTE, and 20+20. That’s what I was getting at. But it’s a tough call because as you said first that block of spectrum must be compatible with lte, then folks in those areas must not only upgrade devices but also endure some downtime due to the upgrades. I wonder if the possible spectrum purchase from Verizon could help….

          My vision is for T-Mobile to have only lte towers and do away with edge and hspa and hspa+ but that would require VoLTE because from my research lte can only handle calls via VoLTE. We shall see, but the metro pcs purchase already gave T-Mobile VoLTE. Whether it helps to speed up their national deployment who knows.

        • philyew

          There is nothing more that I would like to see than an Uncarrier model being operated on a nationwide broadband network. I don’t disagree with your sentiments at all, but there are some really difficult hurdles in terms of resources and logistics to get over on the way to that objective.

          You can, for example, only deploy 20+20 when you own sufficient compatible spectrum. Carrier aggregation capabilities in LTE improve that possibility, but even with multiple bands available, you can only aggregate what you own that is compatible.

        • That’s not how VoLTE works at all. As was explained to you in a previous comment, you still need backhaul and infrastructure improvements before you can think of transitioning to VoLTE for voice service. T-Mobile isn’t doing anything with Metro’s VoLTE implementation and they’ve hinted before that they’re willing to dump it if it doesn’t make sense for them to continue the roll out.

          I currently live in the only VoLTE market that old Metro rolled out and in practice, it pushes voice up to T1 broadcast line quality given enough bandwidth, but it comes at the expense of battery life, as the current LTE SoCs are still power-hungry. Adding VoLTE at this point is a bad idea until LTE basebands can get more efficient and carriers can tweak service for maximum efficiency.

          All VoLTE does at this point is let carriers rip out the circuit-switching hardware for standard voice calls, but it doesn’t do much for anyone else. It’s a cost and utility issue right now,and it also isn’t a pressing need to transition. What’s more important for T-Mobile right now is to increase HSPA coverage and address its longstanding coverage gaps.

        • maximus1901

          VoLTE has WORSE reception that W-CDMA voice.

        • maximus1901

          No it won’t pull customers away. TMO already has HD voice on their HSPA network. Why would they care about VoLTE which gives them the same HD voice?

    • superg05

      most edge areas are roaming partners i dunno

    • TonyPerez123

      I think that’s the direction Verizon is heading as well,a seamless uniform technology for voice and data,makes sense IMHO

    • maximus1901

      That’s not realistic without low-band spectrum. VoLTE propagates less distance than any other voice technology at the same frequency. Unless and until TMO gets that Band 12, A-block forget about VoLTE.

  • LatteUrbanite

    So much for uncarrier now that the Japanese are closing in. The DT losers are SELLOUTS and makes all that uncarrier nonsense nothing but trash talk. It’s clear that their only motivation is the sellout T-Mobile yet again because they are cowards and jackals.

    Your commitment to T-Mobile has been abysmal. Go screw yourselves DT jackals!

    • philyew

      The problem is that DT spent far too much up front ($55 billion) to acquire what they made into TM US. Having grown from an initial 5.4 million customers to 45 million, the company is now valued at only around $30 billion.

      They did spend over $6 billion acquiring spectrum for and deploying their 3G network, so there was a financial commitment of sorts along the way, but they have spent 12 years chasing that original gross over-spend.

      Not really jackals, more like jackasses…but their work since the AT&T takeover collapsed has been pretty impressive.

    • KP

      The US Gov wont let it happen. The only exception will be a cable provider or satellite company much like Dish. Either way, we have been assured as a company that TMO will continue to expand LTE Nationally. I can only take them at their word as we test..

    • maximus1901

      This is a business, not family. They have no more obligation to you than you to them. If you thought any differently, you’re a fool.

  • Poor coverage is why I left T-Mobile for AT&T this spring (after almost a decade with TMO). I couldn’t even get a reliable EDGE signal in many areas around where I live (suburban Los Angeles) let alone the outlying (semi-rurual) areas where I ride my motorcycle.

    If T-Mobile were to improve their coverage I’d definitely go back to them, but until they do I can’t even consider it.

  • Jay Holm

    Is anyone in Dallas on here? Can you share a speedtest result from Tmo’s 20×20 LTE network please? I’m curious what speeds are like.

    • Carlos Arroyo

      70 mbps plus in frisco texas

      • Mark J

        yah right on there corporate office building roof maybe ;) I have in Dallas max 6-8 mbs this is it.. downtown

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Thought it was northern dallas atm

        • superg05

          just the 1-30%ers areas first

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          huh?

        • KP

          Actually I got a little higher… Now our wifi in our HQ is: 69.75 dwn and 42.72 up. Note: test on iPhone 5 and is limited in what bandwidth it can take.

          To give you a comparison, my Mac using same wifi (no hardline) is 284.23 dwn and160.82 up..

    • KP

      We have been using ATT as a company the last two years but have been testing TM the last couple of weeks. I just did a speed test in my office downtown (Dallas) and got the following: 4.66 DWN and 5.42 up. That test was conducted in a glass building 21 floors up. At my house in N Dallas I get the following: 27.97 dwn and 7.60 UP. If you go North to North Plano Frisco area its off the charts but thats because of the old MPCS towers. My ATT test (corporate offices are two buildings over from mine) was: 4.52 dwn and 9.92 up Hope that helps. Note: Tests conducted on iPhone 5s.

    • Alex Zapata

      I’m almost positive that I saw something not too long ago about someone getting ~139Mb/s over in that area. Not likely to be an average speed, but impressive nonetheless.

  • josephsinger

    I would like to come at this from another angle. I’m still for the most part using the 2G GSM network. During the work week where formerly I had zero problems originating calls it seems that more often than not when I attempt a call during the main part of the work day that the call will not go through or I’ll get the message “I’m sorry all circuits are busy. Message WA 991 fifty five.” This is now not a sometime thing. I can count on this busy circuits message every day of the work week. I’ve been a more than satisfied customer of T-Mobile/VoiceStream for 13-1/2 years but I don’t know that I can still recommend them for someone looking for service in Seattle.

    • T-Mobile Care

      What device are you using in Seattle? Have you tried calling to see what is happening in your area? This is of great concern to us. Please call us at 800-937-8997 or 611 from your handset so we can further look into this for you.

      • josephsinger

        Using Nokia 5310 and iPhone 4. Same result on both. I’m guessing that the reason for this is the “repurposing” of the 1.9 Ghz network for 3G and LTE so there is less capacity for the 2G GSM network. It’s not a sometime thing that during the work day it’s sometimes impossible to place a call. I’m guessing that unless/until there’s more spectrum available that this condition will likely continue. Oh, and it would be a really good trick if I was able to call 800-WEST-WYR if I cannot make outgoing calls :)

  • Winski

    SoftBank could screw this up but Legere may nail their faces shut first.

  • money

    is the coverage good in dayton ohio

    • Nick

      I am south of Dayton but have been up there a few times recently. I never had an issue while I was there, even with going a little outside of the city.

  • Jon

    A whole post on coverage, yet no real discussion of spectrum ownership and difficulties of obtaining low frequency spectrum beyond a couple sentences?

    Hrmmmkay.

  • samsavoy

    Upgrade 2G in a logical fashion. I love how they slap a 3G site in the middle of a town to fix a deadzone but don’t upgrade the 2G sites around it. Makes no sense, and just screams “bare minimum.”

    • maximus1901

      Tmobile, Sprint, ATT, Verizon: they all upgrade their networks according to their cashflow. Notice how the most expensive carrier has the most LTE coverage and the cheapest the least? It’s not a coincidence. Wanna pay more for your service to get better service? Didn’t think so. TMO is operating in the market niche that it has developed for itself by not getting ANY low-band spectrum.

      • samsavoy

        Well I could pay less money and go to an AT&T MVNO I guess. Unlimited data, JUMP, and international data do absolutely nothing for me.

        • maximus1901

          H20 wireless has unlimited HSPA+ for $60
          I’ve tried it and it’s pretty good AND it’s available past the city limits. lol

        • samsavoy

          Yep, I just activated a Moto G for someone the other day on H20 using AT&T’s network. $30/month for 500MB/Unlimited talk/text. T-Mobile would have been $50 with far worse coverage.

        • philyew

          Right now, about the only way that TM will be persuaded to change their priorities for spending is if people start leaving over coverage issues.

          As big a hassle as it is for customers outside the 3G/4G areas, it just makes too much sense from a business point of view for TM to spend its limited resources chasing the vast majority of potential customers who live in the already developed markets. There are at least 180 million people in those markets who are not with TM, compared with around 87 million who live throughout the rest of the country.

  • h_f_m

    I was at a concert with some friends and someone with a Verizon phone had no/little coverage and I was like.. I’m doing OK.. T-Mobile.. He says .. yeah.. that’s what the other guy said as well.. :P

  • Jay J. Blanco

    If t-mobile wasn’t busy trying be bought we could’ve had some nice 700mhz spectrum but DT was too busy trying to kick T-Mobile US to the curve. Now we have to either buy it from private parties or wait until the next auction. Verizon & AT&T walked away with tons of 700mhz spectrum. So now were stuck in a rut until capital can be raised to buy spectrum from company A & B or build out on the high bands we have.

    • philyew

      I think this requires a little historical perspective.

      The auction of the 700MHz band took place between January and March 2008. At that time, TM were still waiting to launch their first 3G market following their participation in the AWS auction which ran from August to September 2006.

      TM spent $4 billion acquiring their AWS licenses and a further $2.5+ billion deploying the service. They had hoped to go live with it in 2007, but were delayed by the slow pace at which previous users vacated the spectrum. Their first 3G market went live in May 2008, two months after the 700Mhz auction closed. So at that time they were sitting on a totally unrealized investment of over $6.5 billion,

      The big winners of the 700Mhz auction were AT&T and Verizon which each spent over $5 billion to acquire spectrum that they would then sit on for over two years.

      The decision to pass on the 700MHz auction wasn’t driven by plans to quit the market, but in the reality of their market position and the fact that they had tied up billions in a network upgrade that was delayed beyond their control.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Looks like I had a little boo boo lol. Your right. Which sucked :-( 3g couldn’t be deployed earlier. But DT should have bought some 700mhz then and now were in a rut.

        • maximus1901

          They thought like Europeans: cover the big cities and people will tolerate 2G in rurals.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Luckly DT is getting a new CEO tomorrow maybe he’ll decide to throw Tmo some extra cash to upgrade 2G areas

        • maximus1901

          No, he won’t. DT wants to sell, not sink MORE money on top of the $55bil + $bilions for AWS spectrum.

        • Well, this new CEO was the same CFO who made sure that AT&T conceded spectrum and cash to Deutsche Telekom in the (admittedly likely) event of the deal being terminated.

        • philyew

          Not really. More like people who make sound decisions about investing limited resources. With 72% if the population in the areas that TM have 3G/4G services, It makes most sense to spend your money in those areas than in the areas where 28% of the population live, but where infrastructure costs (such as backhaul) are the highest.

          Entering the AT&T takeover attempt, TM had neither spectrum nor funding to move to LTE which is critical to maintain competitiveness with the market leaders. Emerging from that process, they had both and it made absolute sense to focus on the existing 3G/HSPA+ markets to execute a rapid deployment.

          In other words whether rural subscribers would tolerate 2G or not was irrelevant. The business imperatives demanded the current strategy.

        • maximus1901

          Ok fine. Then NOW it should at least match Sprint’s coverage: by mid 2014, Sprint will have 250 million people.
          Sprint is putting their towers at PCS/AWS spacing.

        • philyew

          HSPA+ reached markets with 229 million POPs in Q3 and LTE reached 203 million. By mid 2014 I would expect TM and Sprint numbers to be close, though Sprint might be marginally ahead.

        • maximus1901

          I’m not saying that TMO CAN’T match Sprint – at least ’til 250mil – I’m saying that they WON’T.

          Don’t forget about 232mil with 3G or more.

          http://business{DOT}t-mobile{DOT}com/small-business/coverage#coverage-maps

      • Also, don’t forget that not all of the 700MHz band was auctioned at once. There were two auctions. One was a decade earlier for the Lower 700MHz C and D blocks.

        • philyew

          Good point. According to the FCC notes on the 2008 auction (#73) there were several prior auctions: ” the Commission previously assigned licenses for the Lower 700 MHz Band C and D Blocks (Auctions 44, 49, and 60) and for the Upper 700 MHz Band A and B Blocks (Auctions 33 and 38).”

          For completeness, there was also a subsequent auction #92 which was really just a mop up on defaults from the earlier auction and didn’t have any substantial licenses on offer.

        • The screwed up way 700MHz was auctioned was because the FCC decided to do a multi-stage release for mobile wireless services and conversion to digital TV. This resulted in the fragmented band plan that we all know and hate today.

  • sidekicker89

    Does T-Mobile even have enough spectrum to cover the entire USA with AT LEAST HSPA+?! or no? They might be holding out till they get low band spectrum before they expand out.. otherwise whats the point of building out so many towers and wasting all that money using high frequency spectrum?

    • Jay J. Blanco

      I believe so but itll cost a lot of money. Tens on billions of dollars

    • enkay1

      They have nationwide AWS just not the money to build it.

  • Trysta

    Don’t care about LTE. Just upgrade everywhere there is no coverage (especially in areas where there should be) make coverage happen. Everywhere that is 2g needs to be upgraded to 3g/HSPA+. If upgrading straight to LTE is quicker or more cost effective that is fine but I would rather have widespread good enough coverage than super fast coverage in very limited areas. This is T-mobile’s main issue IMHO.

  • hanfeedback

    EDGE and GPRS HAS to goto HSPA+ at a minimum. This is why I am not currently with Tmobile.

    • maximus1901

      There’s little difference in cost between LTE and HSPA+: for both you need fiber backhaul and any hspa+ basestation is also going to support LTE.

  • SKA

    Chicago Cubs and Bears winning the World Series and Super Bowl and more coverage in rural areas and if a buyout does happen may it happen with Dish.

  • tmobile user

    I live in a rural area in south texas and I just want better 4g or LTE coverage. When can i ecspect this?

    • maximus1901

      Maybe if the Sprint buyout goes through.

  • superg05

    i think they should focus on buying low band in rural areas only for now to provide wide range coverage at lower cost dense areas already saturated except for areas with lots of concrete and steel some low band there i guess

    • maximus1901

      Only Band 12, A-block is available for purchase. It’s scattered among Verizon, C-Spire, US Cellular, Cavalier Wireless.
      And it’s not even supported on any phones except 1 or 2 from US Cellular.

  • superg05

    they should have recycled there hardware and put the old 3g/3.5g equipment on the edge towers if possible

    • enkay1

      That’s what I’ve been saying. It could save them at least some money while getting some areas off of 2G-only.

      • maximus1901

        It’s about to break-down anyway. It’d cost more money in labor to have to replace them shortly after installing them.

    • philyew

      I remembered that Conan Kudo had commented on this idea some time ago (back in March) when he said the following: “All the old stuff is being thrown out. No one is willing to support them. A lot of the equipment is Lucent and Nortel, both of which don’t exactly exist anymore.”

      • superg05

        I see what you you mean and understand thanks

    • maximus1901

      Without fiber backhaul, that would only give you speeds of 300-500 kbps.

      • superg05

        true but there is such a thing as wireless backhaul

        • maximus1901

          It still has to eventually end at a tower with fiber but you have a good point: even slower speeds using microwave backhaul is preferable to TMO’s current speeds. And it would be sustainable given TMO’s arpu.

  • JeffreyME

    Timely discussion. I just drove from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area, and the major highway between the two cities — the 5 — had spotty T-Mobile Service most of the route. Most reception that we did get was Edge. As I don’t do this drive often, I can live with poor reception. But I’m sure many people who travel between California’s two most significant metropolitan areas would never put up with such a sub-par network, let alone the people that actually live and work along the 400 mile length of I5

    • sahib102 .

      * cough* my city that I live in only has 2g and im on I-5 :P

      • JeffreyME

        Have you considered other providers?

        • sahib102 .

          I have but im only paying 30$ and I get 3g on the places travel to. just in my city that I live in has only 2g :/

        • sahib102 .

          I have but most of the time when I travel outside my city I get hspa+ so I don’t worry about that and im only paying 30$ its just the city I live in only has 2g :/

  • 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.

        • 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…

        • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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?

        • 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…

        • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

      • alissa914

        If T-Mobile is below Sprint in terms of people using it, I’m steering away. T-Mobile is almost what Cingular was back in the day….. until they became AT&T again (and then back to Cingular and then back to AT&T)…… Still, there’s room for improvement but having super fast speed does nothing if you can’t use it everywhere or at all. I do like the plans though but after going to their store, I clearly stayed away…. their Uncarrier-switch thing was a scam…. I couldn’t keep my 4-band phone from AT&T that’s unlocked…. I had to sell it to them and buy one of theirs over the cost of their contract for 2 years at T-Mobile…. which has less bands but is the same phone otherwise……

        • alissa914

          Speed is nice but after having Sprint for a while and losing connections in bad areas, I switched to AT&T. Never went back. It’s a little more expensive but they really cleaned themselves up after having that exclusivity with the iPhone back in the day. LTE was added shortly after Hurricane Sandy, I believe, in my area…. they had to rebuild towers anyway, so you found them putting in better equipment in many places here. Still…. having my LTE tablet finally display “LTE” on it when it wasnt there before was a welcome sight…..

  • 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.

  • WyoCritter

    I am so done with TMo after I am done with my current obligation. Having moved from Chicago burb to Wyoming, I have zero data and I’m using Union Wireless’ towers for calls. TMo won’t even let me send pix via text messages when I’m at home using wifi. Union Wireless has coverage nationwide, they’ll be getting a new customer very soon.