T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter talks covering remaining LTE coverage gap with Verizon

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T-Mobile touts that it covers 99 percent of the people that Verizon does, and this week T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter talked up T-Mo’s plans to fill out the remaining coverage.

“First and foremost, we really do want to cover that last 700,000 square miles in the US that Verizon has an edge on us on,” Carter said at a Deutsche Bank conference on Wednesday. He went on to say that while T-Mobile does have roaming deals, some of which are 4G LTE, T-Mo wants a fully LTE roaming offering. “We want the same quality of experience no matter where you go in the US.”

“We have more work to do,” Braxton added, saying that T-Mobile is aiming to cover those 700,000 square miles over the coming years.

Carter also touched on the difference that low-band spectrum has made for T-Mobile’s LTE expansion efforts, calling it “a game changer.” Speaking of low-band spectrum, the 700MHz A Block expansion in Chicago is expected to be lit up in the second quarter of the year.

This is just the latest commitment that T-Mobile has made to the continued expansion of its 4G LTE network. Last month, it said that it plans to grow its LTE footprint from 314 million people to 320 million people by the end of 2017. While it could take some time for T-Mo to cover that remaining 700,000 square miles with LTE coverage, it’s nice to hear that T-Mo really wants to do it.

Source: FierceWireless

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  • 77090

    I really wish they would do something about the service in Houston. LTE is slower than dial-up internet most of the time. Especially on the north side.

    • Phone Guy

      Drop your band down-turn off LTE and drop back to 2G 3G (which is T-Mobile 4G without LTE. I often find that the 3G is way faster because of less congestion.

      • 77090

        I do that on almost a daily basis. The only downside to it is there are a few places that the 4G signal is nonexistent. Thanks for the advice though it is very appreciated.

        • Michael Bosco

          I have emailed John, and he had his team get in contact with me , Broadway NC HAS REALLY BAD COVERAGE I SWITCH DROM ATT TO TMOBILE and lasted exactly 2 days had to switch back, the engineers say that they have no plans of upgrading that area as of now, I wanted to stay with Tmobile but you never know when an emergency comes up and you can’t call

      • Menobastian

        That’s exactly what I do, I agree the north side of Houston is more miss than hit, but on beechnut and 610 where I work, it’s fast.

      • marque2

        How do you drop your band down?

      • Jay Holm

        Yes, that does work. I don’t need to do it very often, but when I do it does make a difference.

    • Jay Holm

      Really? Where on the north side? I get around Houston quite a bit from Friendswood to Humble, and I get good signal and data speeds everywhere.

      • 77090

        Between 45 and 249 on 1960. That’s funny you say that though. I am in Humble right now and it is slow.

  • Raiterio Patterson

    I’m happy that they’re working on getting people that live in that 700,000 square mile area but don’t forget the North Carolina Foothills. We’re in desperate need of low band spectrum.

    • Mike T

      Band 12 has been deployed in the Mount Airy Area of NC. I just noticed it a couple of days ago here.

      • Raiterio Patterson

        What are you guys doing in Mt Airy? How come Sorry County is always first to get upgrades? Do celebrities live up there?

        • Mike T

          No celebrities around here that I know of lol. I guess because of I-77 and I-74 we got the upgrades to band 12 first. Who really knows T-Mobile’s strategy.

    • Jose Mendoza

      I live right off the border of the foothills and even though B12 isn’t here yet, I did notice better coverage. I guess that they’re optimizing coverage in the meantime.

      • Raiterio Patterson

        I’ll agree with you on that. Since updating my OP3 to Nougat; I’m holding onto LATE more often than H+ on a day-to-day basis.

  • The Waz

    When is their Q2 for Chicago?

    • det_b

      In the second quarter….

      I’ll go out on a limb and guess sometime between April and end of June?

  • Jason Caprio

    Quite an ambitious goal by T-Mobile and I hope they achieve it. Talk is cheap though. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Matt

      T-Mobile has a pretty good recent track record of delivering on promises. By the end of this year, the coverage should really be comprehensive.

    • Jay Holm

      Not sure how long you have been a T-Mobile customer or if you have been following the industry for a long time, but when T-Mobile deployed LTE it was deployed very fast, and before that they had HSPA 42 (AT&T didn’t follow the upgrade path).

      • Jason Caprio

        I had T-Mobile between Feb. 2014 and Nov. 2016 with a Band 12 capable Galaxy Note 5. I switched to Verizon mainly because of issues I was having with inconsistent speeds/coverage while traveling, to make a long story short.

  • Steven

    The gulf coast, such a big travel area for so many people all the way up to Michigan, yet the service is still extremely patchy. Not a major full time residence area, but a major travel area. From New Orleans to Tampa south of I-10 needs major gap improvements.

  • Larry E

    I’m more worried about improving coverage in semi-rural areas they ‘claim’ are covered, than I am about coverage of last leg cow pastures & oil fields in Oregon.

    They have metro areas locked up, but when you go just outside these areas, coverage gets really spotty. These are areas they claim are completely covered, but I can never browse the internet from my house.

    • StevenM

      I agree. My home town is in South Louisiana and has a population of 10,000. The closest tower has B12 and is about 7 miles out of town. Signal is OK outside but walk into any house, restaurant, or retail store and the signal is GONE. Verizon has 2 towers in town.

      • emcdonald75

        That’s why I left T-Mobile for Verizon.When I walk into buildings, the signal goes away in many cases. Or driving downtown in Jackson, MS, I lose coverage and I definitely lose coverage when I drive out of town in more rural areas. Coverage has improved somewhat (LTE is present in more rural areas, but sometimes the data speed is unusable/though the phone shows LTE) but there are too many areas where my phone shows No Service. I have a friend that lives in the suburbs of Atlanta (Rex, GA), and T-Mobile sent him a coverage booster because the signal was horrible when he walks into his house. The coverage booster did absolutely nothing to improve coverage. The T-Mobile coverage map shows strong 4G LTE coverage but there is maybe one bar (at times) and data speeds are practically unusable. T-mobile technical rep told him that the engineers will go take a look and send him an email providing an update in 3 business days. He has not received an email with an update and it has been 7 business days. Coverage is still horrible. I keep telling him to move service to Verizon or AT&T, but he refuses. He wants to keep T-Mobile; although, his service sucks inside his house and he has no WiFi service. I don’t understand blind loyalty. I loved T-Mobile and I stayed with them for years because of WiFi calling but I became sick of drop calls and not being able to use my phone in the car because of No Service in many areas. I want T-Mobile techs to drive around and ensure that the coverage map is more precise and fix the gaps whenever their team isolates them. Small cells should fix many issues but I know that even that process is subjected to government regulations and processes. I am rooting for T-Mobile and I might return as a customer someday once coverage improves. Pricing and phone selection was great, just coverage needs improving.

        • marque2

          Hmm, he might need a new phone. In my home, I use my wifi and TMo phones all do wifi calling now. No need for a booster. Plus I get the data from the wifi as well.

        • emcdonald75

          He has the iPhone 7 Plus. If he had WiFi inside his home, then he could use WiFi Calling. Tmobile’s coverage map, or any wireless company for that matter, should not show strong 4G LTE signal coverage in any given area without providing usable data speeds or actual voice/data coverage inside a home without a need for a signal booster or WiFi.

        • marque2

          I would still have the person turn the phone completely off (many don’t realize that just hitting the power button quickly doesn’t turn off the phone) and on, and see if that helps, and then if note, do a factory reset, before blaming TMo. It really does seem like a phone problem to me.

        • emcdonald75

          It is not a phone problem when T-Mobile walks you through that process over the phone and T-Mobile’s own technical representative determines that you need a coverage booster and afterwards determines that a technician needs to go and look at the site to prove poor coverage. T-Mobile needs a tower or a small cell in the area to improve coverage. Millions of people cannot be experiencing coverage gaps because of their phones. Many times, it is the network. I left T-Mobile for Verizon and I have experienced so few coverage gaps that it isn’t funny. I have coverage in areas where I didn’t before and it is amazing.

      • Jeff Mayeux

        StevenM, do you have a band 12 capable phone?

        • StevenM

          Yes. S7. The town is Ville Platte. The Whiteville tower is the serving one but it is too far away. Coverage is grossly overstated in Evangeline Parish. The towers in Whiteville and Eunice are too far apart. The good news is coverage is decent in the rest of Acadiana.

  • Philip

    What will happen when T-mobile cover more than VZW? Higher price for T-mobile users.

    • New AWESOME! plan that costs more, somehow.

      • marque2

        They tried that with the TMo One plan, now the plan is as cheap as the 6 gig plan I switched from recently, at least with my families data usage (two phones get a $10 discount forow usage.) They slowly cut the costs over the last 6 months.

  • chlg

    The issue is not getting an LTE signal but what you can do with it. I live in South Florida and where I live I get LTE signal but is practically useless. a page takes forever to download and the pinging takes forever. Again is not about reaching everyone is what everyone can do with what you offer

    • Acdc1a

      Where in S. Florida?

      • bkat11

        I haven’t had any issues

    • Trevnerdio

      LTE nearly always has low ping, that’s not the issue. It’s their capacity issues that are getting them. They got the customers they wanted, and now they’ve gotta step up their network capacities.

      • MadMartigan

        “LTE nearly always has low ping”

        Not sure from context if you actually meant this or not. Just in case:

        fyi: low ping is better than high ping.

        You’d rather have a ping of 36 than 127. Ping is a measure of round-trip time from host to destination and back. Lower is better.

        My apologies if you were expressing something other than I gathered from the context.

        • Trevnerdio

          Yeah, I know low ping is better! Thanks for explaining though, I appreciate it. I’m just saying T-Mobile is having major capacity issues since their relatively recent explosion in customer base.

        • MadMartigan

          That completely depends on ones location, of course. I’ve not noticed the same in my area, for example.

          Of course, I also seem to live in the one rural area T-Mobile does cover, since – according to all the folks that don’t use T-Mobile, it doesn’t cover rural areas. ;-)

          So my personal experiences may be on the unusual side.

        • Jay Holm

          Network in Houston continues to hold up just fine. And trust me I get around all over Houston!

        • Trevnerdio

          Houston is great, insane speeds always. Panama City still has it beat though because it’s about equal in technological prowess (bandwidth, capacity) but none of the customers 80% of the year! Haha also achieved 126mbps in Lake Charles, LA recently…

        • Jay Holm

          Umm, don’t you think most people here know what ping means?

        • MadMartigan

          Um, yeah, I do. It just didn’t look like he did from the way he worded that at first glance.

          Is that, um, okay with you?

    • Jay Holm

      Sometimes switching from LTE to HSPA makes a difference.

  • Personally I wish T-Mo would focus on what has always been their strength – urban markets. That last percentage of coverage Verizon has over them is so sparsely populated it makes no sense from a business perspective. Let Verizon have the money loosing rural market and focus on densely populated areas.

    • decisivemoment

      I live in an urban market. Unfortunately it doesn’t do me much good to have big rural coverage gaps because I do actually venture out into the sticks, both on business and for family. The interesting part of the story is that the rural areas I visit by far the most often aren’t all that well covered by Verizon, my current carrier, though they are VERY well covered by AT&T, and in at least some of these areas, T-Mobile is rapidly surpassing Verizon, whose footprint in these areas is generally smaller than it was a decade ago. Basically, T-Mobile is colocating on one AT&T tower after another (usually those with third party ownership like American Tower), and Verizon is sitting on their laurels in rural areas and concentrating on improving city performance for those with carrier aggregation phones. Much more of this trend and I will leave Verizon; whether I have 20Mbps or 150 in the city doesn’t matter that much, but whether or not I have coverage at all when I’m out of town is obviously very important.

    • Goblin Shark

      Shut up

    • marque2

      There are issues in sparse areas. If you drive major interstates you would expect coverage point almost all the route, even though it is sparsely populated. Large swaths of I-40 and I-20 have no TMo coverage, but you can call via Verizon. Also national parks, Verizon as an example has much more coverage than TMo in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, as an example,where you can get Verizon in many campgrounds, but TMo is non existent not only within the park but for a 50 mile radius around the park. It is hard even when you get to a decent sized townike Visalia,CA close to the parks. Also in some hilly areas TMo needs to do better. The coastal Areas of San Diego county have poor reception, and my town inland in San Diego co, also has some coverage problems. This is because the area is lots of valleys, but still, should be improved.

      However to keep the brand strong, I do concur they should expand where the money is first.

    • Edward Ward

      Bingo! I could care less about coverage in BFE, I spend no time there. If I am there, I’m just passing through. VZN can have it, just keep me covered in places where people actually, you know…live.

  • Mr.Bean ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Sounds good to me, but I wonder how long they can keep it up with the rumors of mergers with T-Mobile.

    • themask128

      You mean the last rumor that if sprint merged with T-mobile they would be the minority stake of the combined company? Not sure what news you have been reading DT is in no hurry to offload t-mobile.

      • Mr.Bean ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        I know, but it’s possible

        • themask128

          The longer T-mobile is profitable which they are the less likely your theory is accurate. Given how strong of a market player T-mobile is now compared to sprint it is highly unlikely that the T-mobile brand would go away or a lot of T-mobile management etc. It would be far more likely for sprint to disappear over time in such a merger.

  • vrm

    I rejoined t-mobile recently after a couple of years’ pause. My area, urban, t-mobile doesn’t have low band spectrum. They hadn’t upgraded the network in a while since installing LTE many years ago and coverage was not great (even tho they had towers, they hadn’t optimized the network and also didn’t have MIMO).

    There has been an improvement in coverage. Still no low band but when in a big store, previously I lost coverage bit now I get edge. So I decided to test the edge speeds and was pleasantly surprised. It was very usable and I was able to run several apps smoothly (couldn’t tell the difference between ‘E’ and ‘LTE’). The apps needed a fair amount of bandwidth and one of them even opened browser pages which loaded quite quickly.

    Tmobile will be expanding native coverage by EOY 2017. I think they have already begun the groundwork for the new sites and I was told by an insider that once they decide to install a site (permits ready) it takes only about 3 months from scratch.

    • marque2

      You might have an issue with your phone. Edge only runs at about 56 obits per second. I would guess the phone is misreporting the numbers. Also with TMo it is important that you have a relatively new one. One purchased in the last year so you can take advantage of Ok the new bands.

  • Alex Zapata

    How about a more consistent network? Most of Aurora, IL has great signal but the service is almost useless in most areas.

  • Goblin Shark

    Philippines East?

    • Trevnerdio

      Pembroke Pines. lol

      • Goblin Shark

        I like my guess better lol

      • Acdc1a

        Broward has never been an issue for me.

  • Goblin Shark

    I’ll know they’re serious when they open a TMo store in my town.

  • JHatfield

    I get between .5-3 megs in much of the denver area. Tmobile has no desire to improve the actual usable coverage. They only want the phone to say LTE. If that is unusable, they don’t care.

    • Rush Hadley

      I live in Denver and I get 8-55 Mbps. I use a band 12 enabled phone also.

      • Phone Guy

        That guy probably uses an i-toy.

        • moonoverparma

          What does an iPhone have to do with it?

        • Edward Ward

          The phone you have makes a huge difference. My reception on my S7 Edge is better than on my iPhone 7 Plus. Must be something with the phone’s antenna design I guess.

  • Charles Burt

    I will believe that T-mobile is serious about matching Verizon’s geographic coverage when T-mobile is available on the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. Until then I have no choice but Verizon.

    • Albert Orange

      Same thing with Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside and the rest of Northeastern Arizona. When I had T-Mobile, I was roaming on Cellular One with mostly Edge (unusable) and some 3G coverage in the middle of town. I switched to Verizon because the whole area is blanketed in LTE.

  • Sharti24

    Just put all your equipment on verizon/att’s current towers. Sign deals with crown castle and American towers. No need to build new towers. Just lease the space. Spend the money Tmobile!

  • damianpostigo

    Buy sprint T-mobile It will cost you a pretty penny but in the long run will be worth it and in the long run will be cheaper then leasing towers Just like you did with metro pcs. Give us customers what we want.

    • Sharti24

      Buying a company would be Cheaper than tower leasing, How? Sprint and tmobile have almost identical network footprints and a lot of their coverage would overlap tmobiles current coverage. My post below sums up what tmobile should do. The towers are already built, Why not just pay the rent fee (should be 1/2 price) and install your own equipment on existing verizon/att towers?

  • bkat11

    Good Chicago needs it…terrible downtown coverage

  • Gavriel Ostrow

    I agree with the Sprint buyout. If T-Mobile buys Sprint and dumps sprints customer service, things can go great. Better coverage more customers, and a stronger foothold in the market. Plus all the Verizon roaming agreements could cover them for a little while as they gain a bigger foothold.

    • Acdc1a

      Ask Canadians how they feel about just 3 national carriers.

  • mavricxx

    As much as I love T-Mobile, I don’t want them tio but Sprint because it’ll cause a monopoly that will cause prices to go up. T-Mobile please fix Eglin, FL horrible no reception there.

  • onthegreenz

    Spotty coverage, in so many places that I travel. Its actually embarrassing – then I go to Tmo forums and you see all the complaints. How many network extenders are you going to send us Tmobile ??? fix your network !

  • Joe

    If you move outside of a metropolitan area or work in a concrete bldg, you are toast for coverage. That is where Verizon excels. I know many Doctors who cannot move to TMobile because of that. I hear a lot of talk and see very little action. Kind of like a politician. They would do better putting more resources into coverage and less into promotion.

    • Edward Ward

      They have to promote to grow their customer base, which affords them the opportunity to grow their network. People who come to TMO should know that they’re signing on with a smaller carrier which is trying to grow, and they have no grounds to complain that the coverage isn’t as good as the network twice the size which has been around years longer.

  • Jay Holm

    I keep wondering what the deal is with the rollout of tri-band carrier aggregation, it’s deployed on some cell towers, but not many. I live in Houston by the way (77089)

    • Sharti24

      what phone do you own and is it 3CA capable?

      • Jay Holm

        S7

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  • JJ Clark

    I was on the Washington coast a few weeks ago and had to hookup to my friends’ Verizon hotspot. It was frustrating that say the least. Not to mention that my service is already garbage in my downtown Seattle apartment. I keep hanging on to the hope that they’ll actually compete with VZ, in their headquarters’ backyard, no less, but I’m truly at the end of my rope. At this point it’s worth an extra 10-20% to have reliable service.

    • Todd N.

      What kind of phone do you have?

      • JJ Clark

        I have an iPhone 7+

    • Botiemaster

      You better make sure your phone has the capability to receive newer tech signals. I spent a year waiting for 4G LTE using 2G before I realized my old phone was unable to receive the signal because they installed newer technology.

      • JJ Clark

        I have an iPhone 7+ and before that I had the Note 7, Galaxy S7 Edge and every other Galaxy dating back to the S3. It’s been a perpetual battle for as long as I’ve had TMO in Seattle. My service was great when I lived in Chicago, but I haven’t been so lucky in the PNW. Especially in the city or coastal areas.

    • Edward Ward

      Really? I’ve lived in WA for over 20 years and TMO works great pretty much everywhere, especially over the past couple of years. My reception in Seattle is totally fine.

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