Uncarrier 8.0 takeaway: T-Mobile’s network announcements were far more important than rollovers

Uncarrier 8.0 Data Stash Announcement

T-Mobile’s Data Stash may – in the words of John Legere – be “arguably the biggest thing we’ve ever done since Uncarrier 1“, but other announcements caught my attention more. I’m not belittling the new data rollover scheme. Simply re-emphasizing the truth: Without a killer network, a great offer isn’t worth anything. Sprint has found that out to its own detriment. 

In a blog post, T-Mo’s network guru, Neville Ray covered all of the encouraging network developments over the past weeks and months.

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Hitting and Surpassing targets

T-Mobile had a few network goals this year. By the end of 2014 it wanted to:

  • Cover 250 million Americans with its LTE network
  • Reach 25 markets with its wideband LTE
  • Start rolling out the low-band 700MHz spectrum

Each of those targets, the company has either achieved or surpassed. T-Mobile LTE now reaches over 260 million PoPs (people), and its faster wideband LTE network is live in 27 markets. It has also started testing and rolling out its low band spectrum. By the end of 2015 the company intends to reach 300 million Americans with its LTE.

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1900MHz upgrades

Over the past few months we’ve noticed many new markets being covered by LTE. Markets which used to be EDGE-only or – in some cases – HSPA at best. The biggest example was Cincinnati, but we’ve seen numerous examples of more rural cities and towns being graced by LTE networks for the first time. This is T-Mobile using its existing 2G/EDGE 1900MHz frequency band and upgrading it to LTE.

By the middle of next year, T-Mobile is planning to have ALL of its 1900 2G/EDGE sites upgraded to LTE. And if this year’s progress and momentum is anything to go by, it would be surprising if the company didn’t get it all fully upgraded way before then.

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700MHz

Apart from Wideband LTE, band 12 has been this year’s biggest talking point among the T-Mo network fans. Also known as 700MHz, or low-band network, it’s going to allow T-Mobile’s LTE reach more people because it travels further, and penetrates building walls more effectively.

We have heard of a few sightings recently, but it’s always good to hear officially from the man who knows better than anyone else what’s happening with T-Mobile’s towers and antennas. When T-Mo purchased the 700MHz spectrum from Verizon, Neville Ray promised we would have band 12 LTE rolling out by year’s end. And it is.

T-Mobile customers in Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Minneapolis and Washington, DC with LTE Band 12 devices are only the first to reap the benefits of our new low-band LTE, boosting network reach, improving in-building coverage, and extending coverage well beyond major population centers. 

If you have a compatible device, and live in the right location, you could already be making use of the more robust LTE network. Among the devices with 700MHz LTE compatibility are the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge. Two of the most talked about devices this year. And more are coming next year too.

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Wideband LTE

With T-Mobile having hit its target of 25 markets with wideband LTE at the beginning of this month, you could have been forgiven for thinking this year would end on a whimper. But with yesterday’s announcements and the arrival of wideband LTE in New York City (one of the most populous markets), the company assured we weren’t left disappointed. It also means it’s now live in 27 markets, totalling “121 metro areas.”

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Call me Weird

While the blogosphere may have gone crazy on T-Mobile’s 21st century spin on rollover allowances, I was far more excited by how far the company has come on its coverage and network expansion. At the end of last year I said that the carrier’s resolution for 2014 has to be coverage. Not just more coverage, but better, stronger and faster coverage. It’s delivered, more than I expected to. And that’s far more important and noteworthy in my mind than letting me keep some of my data allowance in a bank for 12 months. Because chances are, if I don’t use it now, I’ll never use it.

Read Neville Ray’s full post here.

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  • Mirad77

    Cam you got it right, I also think the improved network is better than the rollover.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Agreed but thats only concerning the people on AT&T or verizon looking for something else lol

  • Jay J. Blanco

    I wanna hear how t-mobile is going to become truly nationwide. Once all the 1900mhz… is done what is t-mobile gone do with Montana Dakotas. And every major gap where they cover. 700mhz. Is not gone cut it lol they have to launch HSPA in some towns to ensure capacity and what not. Considering adoption rates they gone have to launch 3G/hspa in a lot of areas . But hey well take it one step at a time

    • Willie D

      The population in Montana and the Dakotas may not be worth the initial cost of deployment. The market there is saturated with former Alltel now Verizon customers, and possibly smaller regional carriers, that it does not make financial sense to deploy in a market that there is little to no rapid turn. The best hope is the roaming deal with the smaller established carriers, offering reciprocal agreements.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        I just think leasing spectrum is the best options. Or trying to buy the small carriers. But eventually they gone have to launch there.

      • jay_max

        I’m sorry, but TMO has to cover those areas if they want to compete with AT&T and Verizon. The regionals are disappearing in that area, leaving just the big two.
        And, to be candid, many people look to nationwide coverage even if they don’t travel outside of their home area much. Let’s face it, TMO’s coverage map has a huge hole in MT, WY, ND, and SD. They MUST fix that and I believe they intend to. Otherwise, why go to the trouble of buying 700mhz spectrum in those areas?

        • PHL

          Don’t mean to offend, but any company competing in a marketplace has to pick its battles. It could very well be that, at this time, the heavily rural states such as MT, WY, ND, SD, etc are just not worth upgrading.

          I wasn’t there, obviously, but I seem to recall that it took the US government stepping in to get many of these area hooked up to electrical service.

        • EndlessIke

          I really doubt that’s coming. Even “sparsely” populated areas in the Northeast have far higher population density than those states. Take a look at T-mobile’s coverage map for upstate NY, for instance. Lots of holes, right? There are about twice as many people in upstate NY as in those 4 states you mentioned combined, in a much smaller space. What rational company would spend money into covering those states when there are far more dense areas that would cover more potential customers for less. You can swap in any number of other states to reach the same point.

        • Alex Long

          Eventually, yes I’m sure they intend to. But that is likely a very long ways away. It’s a cost vs. benefit issue, as is everything in this world. Spend a ton of money to expand new coverage to a sparsely populated state, or spend less money to improve coverage in a densely populated major city and it’s immediate outskirts. The second option is much more cost effective in terms of money spent and potential customers gained. Once the coverage and capacity around major cities are solid enough, then they will expand to more rural areas.

        • Jrunner

          I’d be happy just to have some sort of roaming calling/texting agreement in those areas. Data? Would be nice, but at the end of the day, I’d just like to be able to make a phone call if I break down in the middle of nowhere or get my incoming phone calls (or if had data, could be part of the minimal 10 MB roaming just to get by for a day). Also, would be likely a decent deal for the regional carriers there to expand their roaming options by letting them use t-mobile’s network (and give people options in those areas other than Verizon/AT&T)

    • KingCobra

      It’s still more efficient to cover those areas with LTE than HSPA+. They probably won’t bother deploying HSPA in new areas as there’s no point. LTE is the standard going forward.

      • emcdonald75

        Help me understand something. If T-Mobile uses GSM/LTE instead of HSPA/HSPA+/LTE in these 2G to LTE 1900 PCS upgrade areas, can you still talk and surf data at the same time and have 5/6-way conference calling? I remember when I visited my parents’ house in a 2G area, I could not surf data and talk at the same time. I always thought only HSPA and VoLTE had that simultaneous voice and data feature, not 2G EDGE/GPRS.

        • KingCobra

          You can if you have a VoLTE device. If not then it drops back to GSM when a call comes in and you can’t use data.

        • emcdonald75

          I cannot wait until GSM is gone forever and T-Mobile has an all LTE Network. An all Hspa+/LTE Network would have been nice too.

        • Paul Hansen

          The latter is basically what they’re working for. They’re slowly shutting down the non-HSPA/LTE portions of the network (read: edge) and refarming that frequency to handle LTE band 2.

        • Yes, you can. 2G and 3G support simultaneous voice and data, though the speeds at 2G are practically nothing.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        I was saying hspa for legacy devices

        • Alex Long

          If they are expanding to a new area, why would they need legacy support? People in those areas would not have had T-Mobile before, and if they sign up as a new customer they will purchase new phones. Most phones sold within the past several years are LTE capable already. LTE is a much more spectrum efficient technology, it makes absolutely zero sense to build out new HSPA, especially now that VoLTE is fully operational.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Since t-mobile curbed there credit policy I’m sure some people will choose only hspa devices. That’s where t-mobile will run into issues. T-Mobile lte line up is very small con pared to hspa. And t-mobile would have to find a solution to the major battery drain lte has on a phone

    • J.J.

      I still think they will disregard areas like the montana/ Dakota’s if they have no coverage since the population is so low that it would not effect overall perception of the company. The entire state of Montana(just over a million)has less/equal to as many people than many major cities, business wise it would seem its just not worth it

  • Willie D

    Network improvements in San Francisco have been awesome compared to what it used to be just a few years ago…Even within the last year it has been drastically improved. There still is more room for improvement, and the Wideband roll out in SF have been extremely limited in areas that are hitting “wideband speed. Even areas that should have extra capacity, the service is performing under “wideband”, but still performing well over other networks in SF. That said, SF wont see any improvement with 700Mhz as we still use Channel 51 here. But with the large amount of PCS and AWS spectrum converting over, Ive seen coverage over HSPA (PCS) in areas I have not had service just a month ago. So for me, that is a big deal and a large improvement over having no service, or even under performing service – which to me is important. Keep up the good work, and keep it coming fast.

    • nutmac

      Down in the south bay, the coverage is still pretty spotty, particularly indoor. At a local public library in downtown Mountain View, for instance, I don’t get any signal, even by the window.

      When it works, however, it’s blazingly fast.

      • Devin

        Area around my house (Los Gatos) just got updated to LTE from HSPA. Was getting about .5mbps down, now getting about 30. Still spotty, but great improvement.

  • Joe

    They better make sure that even low end smartphones will have low band support cuz than people that cant afford phones that are $600 plus will not stay with them.

    • HeatFan786

      They will. The Galaxy Light and Avant are two lower end phones that support newer software and hardware features. I am sure there will be a band 12 lower end phone.

      • superg05

        the zte max also

    • canofale

      Galaxy Avant already supports 700MHz and retails for $172 on amazon right now. ZTE ZMax is only $250.

  • Tony Pettinato

    If T-Mobile’s coverage and building penetration becomes competitive with that of Verizon, I will gladly switch, even if the price is similar or more compared to my current Verizon bill. Having the flexibility of GSM unlocked phones is a huge advantage and something I sorely envy as a Verizon customer.

    I tried T-Mobile out last year, and while I got amazing LTE/HSPA coverage in denser areas, having EDGE in my community and losing signal when going into stores really ruined the experience of being off-contract. Hoping for improvements!

    • Mike Palomba

      Most if not all verizon phones are GSM compatible and factory unlocked

      • Evan Lam

        Yup, i took my sisters Verizon Note 3 and I get LTE on T-Mobile’s network. All you have to do is pop in the T-Mobile sim and add the apn settings

      • Tony Pettinato

        Yea, but that doesn’t really matter for Verizon’s network. It just means I can use my phone on a GSM network if I choose to do so. It doesn’t help me on Verizon, which is why I envy GSM networks.

        • enkay1

          I don’t quite understand. Where else would you go with an unlocked phone? You can swap your SIM between Verizon LTE phones…

        • Tony Pettinato

          They have to be Verizon-approved phones. I can’t just buy any compatible unlocked phone, like I could with T-Mobile or AT&T.

    • Just give it just a little bit more time. I believe that by the middle of next year after the 1900mHZ 2G bands have fully transitioned to LTE and band 12 coverage becomes more Plentiful, it’ll be an Entirely different ballgame. I think that’s something Verizon and Att are anticipating as well, seeing as they’ve stated in their earning reports that profits were down due to increased competition in the marketplace. And just who do you think they were speaking about, definitely not Sprint. ;)

      • Tony Pettinato

        Yep, this is exactly what I’m waiting for. Coverage parity scares the shit out of AT&T and Verizon because than T-Mobile will truly be competitive with them, forcing them to stop bleeding customers dry.

    • Paul

      It’s a pain point they’ve acknowledged. The 700MHz will help. I understand it as I don’t get great speeds or signal in my office. Luckily, WiFi calling has been on T-Mobile for a LONG time and has helped a lot.

      Just keep an eye on Magenta because that issue will soon be a thing of the past.

  • Aaron Peromsik

    I agree. But maybe that’s because, as an MVNO customer, rollover doesn’t affect me, but network improvement does.

    • MarylandUSA

      Likewise for prepaid customers, like me.

    • Pitahson

      Agreed. I’m in NYC area and there is wide band here and although my mvno doesn’t touch higher than 20mbps, I’m glad wide and is here. Customers on metro and tmobile will be on wideband and won’t clog the whole spectrum which in turn gives me maximum 20mbps at all times even in tmobile dense areas such as Newark NJ

    • Luis Espinal

      the only mvno wholesaler that this will apply to is netontherun.com. I have them and they allow music freedom and just announced they’ll be allowing data stash 2…look them up.

  • Aurizen

    Any chance they’ll get spectrum for current compatible phones?

    • RiskyBidThis

      Where it’s available they’re happy to do so. Just in the last several months they’ve bought up PCS and/or AWS in Ohio, Virginia, and North Dakota (possibly others too, but that’s off the top of my head).

      The problem is most of the mid-band spectrum already belongs to people who have no intention of selling. They pretty much need to wait for companies to divest markets (like nTelos) or leave wireless entirely (like Cincinnati Bell).

  • emcdonald75

    Can T-Mobile just lease more towers to put their equipment on in areas that have no coverage or use AT&T roaming?

    • Chris

      That would mean that AT&T would give them reasonable prices on roaming. This is one issue Legere tries to go about with the Government. And AT&T wrote that popular letter that circulated the net.

  • jj

    Once 700MHz is widely deployed I’ll be switching.

    • Paul Hansen

      I’ll settle for Chicago getting an major 1900 (band 2) refarm. TMO can’t get the licenses here for band 12 (700) since Leap owns them at the moment and the auction for that is likely not to be completed for over a year. Then they’ll have to deploy it if they win it.

  • VG

    Everyone on this blog is assuming Sprint is quasi-dead with a few nails in the coffin. I would be much more cautious about Sprint, they probably delayed their capital improvements this year while they were working on the merger with T-Mobile, thinking that was going to be a done deal. Exactly how T-Mobile pretty much did nothing while AT&T takeover talks were ongoing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sprint starts upping the ante in 2015. That being said, I hope T-Mobile continues its momentum into 2015 and beyond. Legere has definitely made a huge impact on this industry.

    • KingCobra

      I mostly doubt Sprint based on past history. But they do have new leadership now so eventually they could right the ship if they significantly improve the network. It just will take time and a lot of money. T-Mobile will likely pass them before they return to subscriber growth.

      • Jay Holm

        But if/when they do return to subscriber growth, it will be a good thing, because ATT & Verizon are way, way too big, there needs to be a leveling out of the market, but that will take a long, long time.

    • Rob H.

      Sprint already announced their mainly done with their network upgrades. I doubt they will have Spark in anymore markets than where wimax was officially live originally. My market was one where Sprint just started a wimax deployment before quitting. Sprint is a dead man walking. Tmo is the network to be on.

    • ChitChatCat

      T-Mobile stopped spending money because it was about to be purchased, and DT didn’t want to put anymore into something where a sales contract was already signed. Sprint was the one attempting to purchase here, and absolutely no contract was signed. It wasn’t the same situation at all. Sprint continued their attempts at network upgrades the entire time (in fact at the end of the last quarter reported estimated capital expenditures of $6 billion for FY2014.

  • Zach Mauch

    If you look at the sensorly map, there are MAJOR improvements from just 6 months ago and even more from 12. I expect within the next few months we’ll see T-Mobile shift from increasing number of cities to improved interstate/rural coverage.

    …which is where I’m really wanting it to improve.

    • KingCobra

      I’ve seen it as well. In NC they already have most of the interstates covered in LTE now. It seems like T-Mobile is upgrading at a very rapid pace. Faster than I expected.

      • galaxyNote4isBoss

        It’s pretty plain and simple here in New York City nothing beats T-Mobile they are the carrier game today.

        #Note4isboss
        #Note4andGearS
        #NoteEdgeandGearS
        #SamsungKnights

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Same in SC. A town 20mins away was updated to lte just 3 days ago

  • Phillip Reynolds

    Is it just me or did anyone else notice the price increase?

    • Jason Crumbley

      Price increase for what?

    • Things My Boss Says

      I switched to the new family plan and my bill went down.

    • itguy08

      None here. Still paying the exact same as I was in April…

      • Phillip Reynolds

        I pay twenty dollars a month for unlimited. It looks like the data plans give you less data and you pay more.

        • Paul

          $20 for unlimited what?
          I pay $70 for unlimited everything and I haven’t had any changes to my bill or service.

        • Phillip Reynolds

          I meant for data. If I were to get unlimited data service it would cost me more. For example I have 4 lines and unlimited everything it cost me 180.00.

        • Paul Hansen

          Are you a single line or family plan? My wife and I are on the new 2 lines for $100 unlimited deal. No brainer on my end. We were on the old $70/50/30 plan so it’s a $20 savings over our previous plan. If you’re a single then their current plan is $80 unlim (previously $70 depending when you signed up).

  • guest

    are the iphone 6 6+ and other phones on Verizon unlocked and if anyone is using one are you getting 3G/4G and LTE and how fast are the speeds

    • Jesus Soto

      I do have a verizon iPhone 6+ using with T-Mobile and yes it does work great and lte is fast.

    • Alex Long

      Using a Verizon 6 Plus here as well. No issues, works exactly like a T-Mobile phone would with no limitations. Both Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE are working perfectly.

      • Paul

        Not all Verizon devices, LTE or not, are sold unlocked. The iPhone 5 was sold as unlocked and Verizon didn’t want to change that. However, there is nothing I could find that says they are selling unlocked iPhone 6’s, let alone all of their devices being unlocked.
        If I’m wrong then please point me towards the information as I could find anything.

        • VG

          Actually, all Verizon 4G LTE devices are unlocked due to an agreement between Verizon and the FCC when Verizon purchased 700Mhz Lower C block spectrum. Just google “Verizon wireless device unlocking policy” and you will find the statement right on Verizon’s web page: “We do not lock our 4G LTE devices, and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier.”

          However, just because a Verizon smartphone is unlocked for GSM doesn’t mean the smartphone phone supports all the necessary LTE frequencies for a specific GSM carrier. But the iPhone 6/6+ models for Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T a are all identical and support the same bands; the Sprint version supports 4 additional LTE bands (but this model is not unlocked).

          FYI: I purchased a Verizon iPhone 6 at full price from the Apple Store. I popped in both T-Mobile and AT&T SIM cards and they worked perfectly. I have never been a Verizon customer, and did not need to request any unlocking, it was GSM unlocked right out of the box.

        • Paul Hansen

          This. I had some of this typed out til I saw the start of your reply so I get to delete that and just give you an up :P

          The short version for those who didn’t read the above:

          All VZW LTE devices are SIM unlocked but may or may not have the bands necessary to work on your chosen network.

          Capiche?

        • VG

          The Verizon device unlocking web page is: www(dot)verizonwireless(dot)com/aboutus/commitment/safety-security/device-unlocking-policy(dot)html

    • Luis Cisneros

      12 – 33 Mbps download and 4.50 – 7.30 Mbps upload 57 – 83 ping thats the average i get here in riverside ca galaxy note edge. Using ookla speed test, the galaxy avan uses the 700mhz out of the box and noticed it was a bit faster than the edge i might just need an update.

  • MuthaFuckinStephen

    250 Million pops! :D

    • John

      Correction: their goal was to reach 250 million pops by year end, but instead surpassed that as d hit 260 million pop covered with LTE

  • plastic101
  • Zack Kennedy

    I’m a customer as soon as T-Mobile has a 700MHz Windows Phone. :)

    • itguy08

      Good luck with that. Gartner just released sales stats for Q3 and non-Android and iOS platforms all lost marketshare…

      • Zack Kennedy

        I like Windows Phone anyway and could care less what some paid hack behind a desk in an office somewhere thinks. :) I don’t want to say “Sheep” but, well, most people are. And besides, that just gives me another reason to support another platform. Promote healthy competition in the mobile marketplace.

        • Paul

          Honestly, the newer models, 2015, that hit T-Mobile shelves will more tha nlikely have the 700 MHz support. This would include Windows phones.

        • Zack Kennedy

          Can’t wait! :D

        • itguy08

          It’s not some hack behind a desk. They released actual sales numbers, which all businesses look at. Even giving WP away, Microsoft has not managed to gain many partners in WP. They are the only ones doing it themselves with the Nokia phones.

          With declining marketshare, which is basically a rounding error, how long until MS throws in the towel?

        • Zack Kennedy

          They won’t. It’s called Windows 10, works across phone, tablet, and PC, and it won’t cost them anymore resources than the desktop version they’ve always had. :)

    • T-Mo-WinFan

      Nokia 925 supports 700 MHz LTE and I can validate as I am using it currently. There are plenty of other phones as well.

      Got to http://www.gsmarena.com/search.php3 and search by 700 LTE under 4G

  • Andrew N Jensen

    I hope the galaxy s6 will support the low band.

    • Mike Palomba

      It most likely will

    • dtam

      I’m pretty sure ALL samsung phones will support 700A from the note 4/edge on.

      • Paul Hansen

        Probably. Note 4 carries all 3 bands (2,4,12) so it’d be safe to assume that. Other devices that support all 3 currently are the Nexus 6 and maybe the Xperia Z3 as the whitepapers indicate band 12 support despite what the TMO site says. The 2014 Moto X is also supposed to get band 12 support through a software update. There are a lot of devices that have either band 2 or band 12 but both is less common.

  • Franky

    Does the (AT&T unlocked) iPhone 6+ have the right LTE band (700?) to take advantage of when they upgrade the towers?

    • Mike Palomba

      No, none of the iPhones do

      • Franky

        Thanks Mike. I’m fine with the local LTE coverage I have now anyway…..just praying the interstates get upgraded in SC from 2G & GPRS ASAP. It’s brutal on I-26 & I-95 when I travel.

        • Mike Palomba

          The next iPhone is most likely going to have it.

        • TechnoRealz

          @Franky – I also recently encountered the I95 lack of data coverage for the 1st time over the Thanksgiving Holiday. & because I didn’t download maps offline, my GPS connectivity was horrible. In this day & age, that’s unacceptable.

          However, a fellow poster here suggested an interesting workaround (for my next trip): use a prepaid MiFi Jetpack hotspot from VZW in my car. Something like this:
          http://www.verizonwireless.com/prepaid/prepaid-jetpack/

          It’s a great way to bridge to the day when & if TMO can fill their hwys & rural data coverage gaps.

        • Wayne Peterkin

          Wow, didn’t know it was that bad in other states. Tmo’s coverage is great here in Florida. I just got over 33 Mbps down and this is normally the case for a while now.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          All of that is in the process of being upgraded. I-95 has been mapped with some spots of 4G lte last week. And I-26 is almost complete with lte coming from Cola to Charleston. Check sensorly

      • Cam Fas

        It’s a shame because the 6plus is awesome and I have the 128 gig but I will get the 128 gig next year just for the 700band

        • dtam

          and that was apples plan all along

      • Paul Hansen

        Correct. iPhone is missing band 12 (700mhz) but does carry bands 2 (1900 refarm) and 4 (current AWS standard).

  • Cj

    Is t Moblie killing off HSPA + 42 and just keeping HSPA +21 ?

    • It may be a good idea. One thing I noticed at the end of my days with T-Mobile was every time the FauxG speeds were increased the coverage got worse. When I got a strong HSPA+ connection it was fast, nearly as fast as my AT&T LTE work phone, but more often than not I was lucky to get an EDGE connection even in built out suburban areas that had previously had decent T-Mobile 3G coverage.

      • Max

        I got my hspa+ to 35 Mbps today it was faster then my lte

        • That’s great and all but considering that HD Netflix only takes ~5MBps I would say that 10MBps might as well be 1000MBps to the vast majority of users.

          Impressive speed test results are really just an e-penis measuring contest at this point.

          At the end of my time with T-Mobile I would have been thrilled to get a reliable 128KBps connection in quite a few places around where I live (suburban Los Angeles). It didn’t matter to me that I could drive a mile or two away and get a 22MPps speed test result because the phone didn’t work when and where I needed it to.

        • CJ

          I think HSPA+ 42 & 21 are the new edge, hspa+ will be used as the back up netwotk LTE advance than lte than last HSPA+ is the last

        • Mr Paul

          It sure should be. For all the money they all make, I should even get unlimited HSPA+ on GSM networks / EV-DO for CDMA, just as reassurance I should be getting LTE all the time. Only LTE should count against my data ffs. It’s now almost 2015 and Verizon and AT&T still have gaps in their LTE networks and haven’t been hauling out high frequencies to many markets and have yet to deploy much more VoLTE… SIGH…

        • Mr Paul

          Thank god someone has a brain. It’s so refreshing to see comments like this. This is the premise of my entire argument. I use AT&T because I virtually always get 10-15 down and can do everything I need. I don’t use T-Mobile because I don’t care about the one place I can travel to, and get 25-35 down right next to their LTE tower because I can’t get it everywhere else I need it. This is also why T-Mobile’s CTO sounds like a fool using speed to boast their network. AT&T has a solid 10-20 in most places for everyone, and that’s why they’re still the best choice for many like me.

        • Aaron C

          In contrast, where I live and work, AT&T (which I tried for a while) was horrific. Even though speed test said I was getting about 2Mbps down at work and home, pages wouldn’t load, texts wouldn’t send. It was horrible. Upstream was 500KB more times than I could count. Both work and home are in metro NY areas. I was amazed when I went to T-Mobile and the down/up was more like 20/15. It’s like that everywhere here. I don’t know how people deal with AT&T in metro NY. It’s terrible.

        • Mr Paul

          I don’t know how AT&T is in NYC, because I don’t venture down to that zoo; not to work, not to play.

          In terms of the suburbs of NYC, AT&T is the only good choice for me. I don’t have the means to try Sprint, because they don’t even cover most of my area with LTE, otherwise I’ve tried the other 3.

          Verizon was nothing but problems and the data network; forget it. And if you think AT&T is bad, Sprint and especially T-Mobile are not even choices once you venture outside of NYC and maybe lower-mid Westchester and some of Rockland.

          The biggest metro area and we have among the worst cell coverage in the country. If I moved somewhere else and came back, I’d flip out dealing with the nonsense I’m used to.

      • Mr Paul

        If you don’t mind me chiming in (not to repeat the same things), I saw the same exact experience. I never got any good coverage at my home (not even 1 megabit down or up, barely even T-Mo’s throttled speeds of 128KBps most of the time), but the one tower in my whole county that got converted put a huge damper on the HSPA+ coverage previously in many areas (that would have practically been enough for me to stay), so that’s another good point people forget; this LTE upgrading is destroying T-Mobile’s H+ fallback, and they won’t even have 700MHz approval (when or if Channel 51 in certain areas actually agrees to change) in most important areas to save them by the time most people can’t even use the network and leave. On the other hand, even though there’s some rough patches I can’t get LTE on AT&T with, I ALWAYS have a virtually full H+ connection.

    • dtam

      probably? it makes sense, LTE is the industry standard right now so they should pool their resources (bandwidth) into LTE and keep just enough on HSPA for legacy devices before finally upgrading those too

    • eanfoso

      It seems so, whenever LTE sucks and I switch to hspa it’s way slower than before

    • KingCobra

      Depends on the available spectrum in the market. Here in Charlotte the LTE had slowed down to sub 5mbps speeds earlier this year so T-Mobile dropped HSPA+42 down to HSPA+21 to make our LTE 10mhz.

    • That’s a good question. Both 21 and 42Mbps are achieved with just 5MHz of spectrum, which is not too much, but it seems that 42Mbps is typically deployed as dual-carrier HSPA over 10MHz of spectrum. So, you may be right about this.

  • TechnoRealz

    I ahve a One Plus One: With TMO re-purposing their 1900 MHz sites to add LTE, is the OPO able to take advantage of the LTE on the 1900 MHz frequency?
    Or does it not have the hardware to do this?

    Specs
    GSM:
    850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
    UMTS:
    850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz
    FDD LTE:
    700 (band 17), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1800 (band 3), 2100 (band 1), 2600 (band 7) MHz
    TDD LTE:
    2300 (band 40), 2600 (band 38) MHz

    • Jay J. Blanco

      Nope.

    • Paul Hansen

      Tmobile currently uses and plans to use the following bands: 2, 4, 12.

      LTE band 2 is what you need for the 1900 mhz refarm.

      Here are some common devices and their support with TMO. There are other bands that these devices are compatible with but they don’t relate to TMO.

      Nexus 6 (2,4,12)
      Moto X 2014 (2,4 – 12 Possibly coming with a software update)
      iPhone 6 (2,4 – Missing 12)
      LG G3 2,4 – (Missing 12)
      Xperia Z3 – 2,4, (Sony support site says band 12 as well but not the TMO site. Perhaps requiring a software update like Moto X)
      GS5 – 2,4
      Note 4 – 2,4,12

    • I also currently have the One Plus and sadly, its only capable of band 4. So, this phone is not able to use the 1900 MHz frequency. The only con I hate about this phone.

      • TechnoRealz

        Yeah great phone just not as future proof as I had hoped.

        • That’s why I now pre-ordered the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, an unlocked phone that has very similar specs to the OnePlus One, except a slower processor. But at least it supports all 3 of T-Mobile’s LTE bands (2,4,12)

  • Encino Stan

    Where is this list of band 12 phones? I am looking for a new high-end phone like the Nexus 6 but with a smaller screen.

    • plastic101

      Sorry, no idea. Just know that the N6 has it.

  • Kevin Wendland

    So if I were to “future proof” myself for a phone, which is more important AWS LTE bands or band 2 (1900) LTE?

    I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, CA. I am looking at a phone that online says it has AWS, but in unboxing videos it doesn’t show the bands on the back of the box. But it does have the band 2 (1900) on it, so I know that would work.

    Is every 1900 tower getting upgraded or just select?

    • Paul Hansen

      I’m sure eventually they’ll want to utilize most of the 1900 band for LTE eventually but you’ll likely be 2 phones away before that’s an issue. They can’t turn off EDGE/3G until everyone has an LTE compatible device that can handle TMO’s LTE bands. Right now the majority of their traffic is over band 4. Expansion into band 12 is already slated for… basically now. Band 2 will likely be a slow rollout as they shut down the old 1900 network and transition it to LTE. I can see this coming quicker to areas like Cincy (mentioned in the article) and cities like Chicago where TMO does not have band 12 licenses. My 2 cents.

      • Kevin Wendland

        Thanks. I kind of figured the switch from 2g to LTE would be slower in areas where band 4 was being used already.

    • Scott

      “Future-proofing” should be near last on a long list of desired features. Regardless of how likely deployment of spectrum is in your area, you’re hedging against a complex issue that will have very little bearing on your daily use.

  • Paul Hansen

    The nice thing about this scenario is that they’ll have bands in the low, mid and high frequencies giving them nice speed and penetration distriubution. Low freq for denser buildings at lower speeds. High freq for those in denser population areas that. Mid freq for everything else. Simply put:

    Band 12 – 700mhz – Low speed – Better Building Penetration
    Band 4 – 1700mhz – Balanced
    Band 2 – 1900mhz – High speeds – Shorter range

    • There’s no difference in speed between bands 2 and 4. Both are capable of high speeds with channels up to 15MHz wide. Spectrum width is what limits the speed, as is the case of band 12: only 5MHz.
      Also, keep in mind that band 4 is 1700MHz up and 2100MHz down, which means that the downlink speed degrades faster with distance and obstacles than band 2.

      In this sense, band 2 is a better band than band 4. However, TMUS has many legacy customers in band 2 which, as they get new phones capable of band 4 as well, makes it easier to repurpose it for LTE as well, as we are seeing happening.

  • Laststop311

    Lovin the Nexus 6 in cleveland with that band 12 goodness. Will be great to see it on all 3 band 2,4, and 14 can’t wait. And when 2g/3g can be fully shut down LTE is gonna get rly wide.

  • Spencer

    You guys realize they’re renting their LTE bands right…? Perfect example, the M8 no longer works on T-Mobile “LTE”
    The fact you called T-Mobiles network great and sprints not is laughable. Sprint actually owns their own LTE, has the 2nd most and end fastest LTE to only AT&T, and you can actually Make a phone call on sprint going down the highway without it dropping. Idk how much longer to can keep this bs up

    • Dan

      Hey Sprint’s been spouting BS for years and apparently it’s still working, so I think T-Mobile’s okay. ;)

    • TechnoRealz

      As oppose to the BS that SPCS keeps spouting about having a usable network?

      Hey are you North Korean by chance?

    • KingCobra

      Is this a joke? Sprint has the worst and slowest LTE network nationwide as most of it is 5+5. (check root metrics and notice that they’re last in almost every market, sometimes in 3rd place at best). To make matters worse when you drop to 3G you get painful EDGE-like speeds. With T-Mobile you at least still have HSPA+ which is still usable.

      • Bori

        I beg to differ. Sprint may have slow speeds in some areas but at least its usable, unlike T-Mobile where in a lot of areas still, you get Sprint 3G like Speeds on LTE. Perfect example, Cincinnati, T-Mobile has 5+5 LTE just like Sprint, but the speeds are a hell of a lot slower than Sprint. So let’s not be so quick to jump on folks who don’t have the great speeds that other people are seeing, because just like I, they are really not getting the LTE speeds that T-Mobile loves to brag about. Of course I do disagree that its BS , where T-Mobile is good, it’s good.

        • KingCobra

          Well you can beg to differ, however the facts speak for themselves. I didn’t say there weren’t any areas where Sprint was better than T-Mobile, that’s certainly possible, it’s just that usually it’s the other way around. Check Rootmetrics, Sprint is dead last in almost every market, even their home market of Kansas City. They also continue to lose tons of customers despite undercutting every other carrier in price. Why do you think that is? Because for the most part the network is inferior.

        • Bori

          Only time will tell. I am leaving it at that. And yes, we can agree to disagree.

        • Mr Paul

          Check RootMetrics again, Sprint is number 2 and 3 in a lot more markets this time around, and they’ve done a LOT of building in the last 6 months.

        • Mr Paul

          Went to FL and had the same misery in an area entirely saturated with LTE.

    • Drew

      What does “renting their LTE bands mean”?

  • GregR

    Thank you! I’m getting a Lumia 925 then! :D

  • Cam Fas

    Iphone 6 may get an update in 2015 for band 12 with an interview at one of the corporate heads this was said two days ago (Other devices will get software updates in January to enable the new band. In 2015, “the vast majority of our handsets” will support Band 12, although “there’s one outlier I can’t confirm or deny,” Ray said.)

    • KingCobra

      He’s talking about the iPhone 6S to be released in 2015. The iPhone 6 lacks the hardware so it can’t be done with a software update.

      • Cam Fas

        Time will tell I’ve heard the hardware is capible and ice heard it isn’t regardless I’m still enjoying my wife band got 79mbs this morning on lte and when I use my tmobile router with the n capible wifi I push 125mbs

  • Westley Calderon

    Just got over 110Mbps on T-Mobiles LTE network.

    • Cam Fas

      Where do you live

    • Aaron C

      I got almost 70 down in Farmingville, NY. Fastest I’ve seen so far. Generally I average around 20Mbps down here on Long Island.

  • itguy08

    LOL. Cause the “One Windows on all devices” has worked so well for them!

    And Windows 10 is not cross platform. The ARM takes development resources. All they are doing is standardizing the API across platforms and architectures, like Appple did in 2006 when they switched from PowerPC to Intel.

    Windows Phone is a flop. Once you accept it you can move on. I loved PalmOS but also moved on.

  • Andrew N Jensen

    They recently rolled out more LTE on I-94 in Wisconsin in a small town called Menomonie. Impressive speeds.