(Updated)T-Mobile Confirms LTE Rollout Top On Agenda Over HSPA+ 84, IMS Is The Future


Update: There appears to be some confusion about the language in this article regarding the 1900MHz refarming. There is nothing that has changed since last week, 1900MHz will still be re-farmed for HSPA+ coverage and unlocked iPhone’s will still work when that re-farm is complete in your area. LTE is going to be deployed on the 1700 band for T-Mobile. 

In a confirmation of intel we received late last week, T-Mobile USA Senior Vice President Andrew Sherrad confirmed to The Verge that T-Mobile would leap-frog HSPA+ 84Mbps in favor of LTE. Sherrad emphasized that T-Mobile would continue its rollout of HSPA+ 42Mbps that is set to support upcoming devices like the HTC One S and Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G.

It was back in January at CES, that T-Mobile acknowledged a future move to 84Mbps, however, T-Mobile’s recently announced “challenger strategy” has seemingly reversed the earlier mindset from January. Sherrard noted that T-Mobile would no longer sell any handsets that doesn’t support 3G, which means the total load on the 2G network will reduce over time.

Given that T-Mobile would have needed to refarm their 1900MHz spectrum to deploy HSPA+ 84 anyway, the logical move is to skip that step and proceed straight to LTE.

On a separate note, T-Mobile is not looking at VoLTE (voice over LTE) as a calling option for its LTE 4G network, instead transitioning its voice services to the IMS-based Wi-Fi calling feature already available on most T-Mobile smartphones. Speaking to PhoneScoop at Mobile World Congress, Sherrard told PhoneScoop that the company is working with hardware partners to make sure the IMS-based Wi-Fi client will be available on many of its smartphones.

Unlike T-Mobile’s earlier UMA service, IMS-based technology is not currently capable of handing off calls from the Wi-Fi network to the cellular network, which leads to a dropped call. Fortunately, this is not a problem with LTE 4G, which supports IMS-based calls. T-Mobile will continue to add IMS-based calling clients to all its devices as it prepares to transition from HSPA+ to LTE over the next few years. T-Mobile believes that IMS-based calls will be its preferred technology of choice for voice calls over its upcoming LTE 4G network.

The Verge, PhoneScoop

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  • jon

    Alright, can someone speak slow for the dumb kid in class ;) …How exactly would ims work in conjuction with LTE? What the hell happens when you’re unable to be near wifi or have an international device; or even a device that is unlcoked (ie iphone) Will Tmob put out an easy downloadable app? Because it will be a pain in the ass to port this to a non-tmo branded device for the casual user…

    • ReadHed

      IMS doesn’t require a specific access network. Currently Wi-Fi is the only way to access TMO IMS network, however, you could just as easily connect to the IMS via LTE.

    • Anonymous

      LTE was originally designed for data. It is a pure IP technology. The last time I checked Verizon and AT&T aren’t using LTE for voice. Data only. VoLTE is still being perfected in the lab. Voice calls over an LTE network will always be handled like voice over IP because there is no curcut switching involved. IMS is Voice over IP. When they say that T-Mobile will go with IMS vs. VoLTE it is just a different way to get VOIP via the LTE network. And since our android and blackberry devices already support the IMS technology with WI-FI calling it will be an easier transition for us and allow calls to hand over from Wifi to the LTE network and vise-verse a lot smoother. If the phone you have now does not support IMS I doubt it could be remedied with an app. It is code written in the radio stacks deep in the ROM and needs compatible radios to work. And to answer the iPhone question, iPhone is not LTE compatible so…

      Clear as MUD?  

      • YBT

         thank you thank you thank you! I was just mad that the HSPA+ train was stopping at 42… but now I understand the rest of the article! Thanks man! (im still mad though, I want my HSPA+108)

        Im a big believer in using things till their limits. But that’s just me, that’s just how I grew up.

        • Anonymous

          We need the spectrum that would have been required to do 84 for LTE. It is and either or proposition due to spectrum limitations. But we will continue to expand the HSPA+42 network and increasing the back haul  bandwidth to make it more efficient and reliable.

      • Thanks for the info, but if IMS is similar (or is) the WiFi calling we already have it seems to have a distinct limitation compared to VoLTE.  WiFi calling only works where you have an open WiFi network (or one you know the password to) and many of the public WiFi hotspots I’ve tried to use WiFi calling on haven’t allowed it.  So it sounds like someone with a TMO LTE phone will still be relying on GSM for voice service most of the time.

        • Anonymous

          Like I said. Clear as MUD? So I guess I wasn’t very clear. The LTE network, being Pure IP, will act the same as an open WiFi network when making voice calls. The IMS will allow the voice over IP call to go over the LTE network like it would over WiFi. You will not have to rely on WiFi to make calls. And Where there isn’t LTE it wont be just GSM for Voice and Data. The 3G UMTS network will still be there as well.

        • StrongArm

          What is the most “harmonized” international standard. The propriatary shite Verizon does at the detriment of its customers is annoying. At&t seems to be less evil in this respect. Any thoughts?

        • Not exactly. IMS would work in conjunction with the LTE network. You won’t be on 2G and it’s without the limitations of Wi-Fi networks. I guess you could think of IMS as a giant Wi-Fi network reserved for T-Mobile customers to use with their voice services if that helps :)

        • IMS works over any Internet connection. So if you’re on LTE, it’ll work over LTE. That’s what T-Mobile is saying above, that the voice system for LTE will be IMS, not that there will not be a voice system and you’ll have to use Wifi!

          The actual original intent of the LTE designers was to have voice calls handled by IMS. Several carriers balked at this, deciding that the system was too limited and too susceptible to bandwidth problems to make an acceptable voice system, hence the VoLTE project which is built on IMS, but with quite a few extensions.

        • David

          i am always right and never wrong ur welcome guys this stuff is 100% true

      • jon

        Thanks so much for the cliffs note. As far as the iphone question, I was thinking future. A LTE iphone that isnt on tmobs network (should tmob fail to secure a deal with apple)..

        • Diana

          T-Mobile would be STUPID to pursue a deal with Apple.  All of the carriers who are carrying the iPhone are losing money hand over fist for the subsidies, it’s a frankly inferior device, and any time there’s an issue with it, there’s a LUDICROUS amount of finger-pointing.  Apple makes the carriers FORCE the user to subscribe to an Applecare plan, then won’t repair the devices, and if the carrier tries or refers the customer to someone else to get it repaired, it “voids the warranty”.

          At this point, you couldn’t *PAY* me to take an iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    as long as they get it right I could care less what tech they use. As long as the network doesn’t shut down every other day we should be good!

  • Phozfate

    i never use wifi calling. I just don’t seem to ever need it

    • Anonymous

      Good to hear. I know it was real useful when I was in the virgin Islands last summer. No roaming required. Just locked onto whatever WiFi I could find and made all my calls, checked Text messages email etc for free. it was nice. 

      • 67_390_coupe

        FYI: US Virgin Islands are not considered roaming.

        • Anonymous

           I wasn’t in the US I was in the Netherlands. St Marteen…

        • WillieFDiaz

          There are British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands, there are no Dutch Virgin Islands. Those are just called by the island name.

        • Anonymous

          That’s great. Thanks for the geography update. 

        • ThatwasLoL

          Hahaha, you got punked. You kinda asked for it too…

    • .A.J.

      I’ve only used it to try it. Lucky for me, I live in an area with pretty good coverage. That said, rarely I’ll visit areas with poor coverage & I’m happy to know the service will be available when I need it.

      While I would have liked to see the 84 mbps hspa+ come to use, I understand T-Mobile’s decision. Just for marketing & the general “non-techie” population, 4G-LTE is going to sound better as it’s familiar from the advertisements by the major carriers.

      As always, here’s hoping for more efficient battery and display technologies.

    • Juang30

      The only reason that I have used it has been when I go into buildings where I don’t get reception. For example, at school, the thick walls don’t let me have reception, this meaning I have to turn it on. Even my friend with Verizon doesn’t get reception and would have to use my phone to make phone calls.

  • Anonymous

    Here comes an interesting question:
    Will current unlimited wifi calling customers also get unlimited calling using wifi calling over LTE?

    • It’s probably way too early to answer that question, but it is an interesting one. We probably won’t know until LTE starts rolling out.

  • Anonymous

    Am I the only one that still prefers the old UMA tech that T-Mobile used on their UMA-enabled Blackberry, Samsung, and Nokia devices?

    If you are asking why I prefer it, it is because, it allowed uninterrupted hand-offs from wifi, to cellular. Says if you are home, and on UMA, then once you leave the wifi network, it would auto-switch to the cell network.  This UMA tech came in handy, when I was in the Dominican Republic, at a hotel that had free wifi. I was able to call back to the USA, and not be charged.

    My GS2 has the wifi-app, but I don’t use it, since the calls drop. Plus, the battery gets drained much faster, since its on Android.

    Maybe the wifi-calling feature will be perfected, since this is only gen-1, for it.

    • Jehernandez4688

       That is kind of strange, I agree that when you leave (let’s say) your home wifi network, they call will drop instead of going to the cell network. But for me, I always get a hell of a lot longer battery life when I use wifi at home. My battery will last me all day long, and I do browse the web and make calls. And it will still be about 75 to 85% full.

    • newjack

      Uma didn’t support all devices that’s why they are making the change. Also, it will create less strain on the data lines. This is a great business move for T-Mobile because they are no longer paying for their data lines like Verzion.

    • Agree with Jehernandez4688. I get better battery life using Wi-Fi calling. In fact, that option is always turned on when I am at home.

      • Jose Hernandez

         I forgot to mention that I also have the service always turned on at home too.

    • John Foster

      I agree that the Blackberry UMA is way better than WIFI calling. Hopefully wifi calling will get better in gen-2.

    • Anonymous

      It only hands off to a 2G tower.  If you are on 3G/4G it will drop.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, base on my understanding, this is bad news. First and for most, does that mean even calling will use up our data pot? What about non T-Mobiles? I personally never buy a carrier branded phone. 

    I don’t know, don’t think I like the sounds of this.

    • Anonymous

       I read somewhere wifi calling will migrate to SIP-based. If so, I have to find the setting and use it on my NS and hopefully it will work.

  • Luis Medina

    If they dont refarm they better have 3g/4g support on the iphone ipad

  • Bigdtotherob

    Is it just me, or does LTE and the recently announced 25GB of dropbox storage (for HTC ICS devices) not mean a whole lot when we are throttled after going over a few GB? Faster speeds just mean you hit your data cap sooner. I would prefer an adjustment in the data cap first before speed is increased. Just my $.02.

    • Anonymous

      Yup, as long as there are caps there is no way i’m going anywhere near cloud based storage.

    • There are at least two ways T-Mobile can go. One is to make LTE data subject to a different cap. The other is to not include IMS as part of the data allowance (they currently don’t for MMS, even though MMS does, indeed, use the data network.)

      My money would actually be on both. 5-10G is very low, and expectations are going to rise, especially given one of the whole points of LTE (and HSPA+) is to increase the amount of capacity the network can support.

    • Guest911

      I read this a lot but am amazed at how people keep repeating this: “Faster speeds just mean you hit your data cap sooner.” This makes NO sense.
      Faster speeds mean you access your information faster. That’s it. You do not use more data for accessing the same amount of data.
      Now, if faster speeds mean you will USE more data, then that is your fault. Not the fault of the data speeds.
      Driving a car faster means you reach your destination faster. It does not mean that the amount of miles driven increased.  

      • Mrrocks

        If you get there faster then you have more time to “drive” so you will go more places and cover more ground

        • Guest911

          Correct. So it is a user problem not an LTE speed problem. That is all I am saying. This is not a data speed issue.

        • StrongArm

          Wrong, it’s just means a quicker “commute” and therefore I’m free to use my newfound “time” to “sleep in” or do other things – doesn’t mecasaarily mean I’ll “drive” more.

      • BigMixxx

        There is a natural tendency to use more, if it’s faster…..As soon as it’s cheaper for me to have internet access on my phone that I can share at home, I’m ditching home internet access….

        T mobile could REALLY eat at a lot of the wireline operators knees with something like that…middle ground, soft caps gone…I’m all over that…
        give you 50 gig a month for 50 bucks ( 1 dollar a gig costs )…I’m dreaming…

        • Daniel

           That’s what actually scares T-mobile and the other carriers.  If everyone started using their phones for their home network then the network would become crippled.  Bandwidth is very limited on wireless, just ask AT&T with the Iphone users.

        • BigMixxx

          Carriers like Verizon and ATT have a gold mine.  Untapped resources in bandwidth they sit on and is underdeveloped, with huge tier 1 style backhauls. 

          Clear with a HUGE footprint, giving it away and just not doing very well because of their relationship with sprint and crappy coverage…but they have a good model going. 

          I’ve been sprint a LOT these days….I really don’t like them….

        • Diana

          It’s not an issue of “scaring” the carriers.  It’s an issue of the land-based broadband carriers (TWC, FIOS, UVerse, etc) not being available everywhere, which is *hardly* T-Mobile’s fault.  I have a friend who lives one mile north of one interstate highway and one mile west of another interstate highway, and there is NO broadband available to her.  Go one block in any direction, and it’s screaming speeds; she can’t even get a decent copper home telephone line.  So OF COURSE she has to use her wireless carrier as her broadband provider, because they are the *only one available*.  Again, not T-Mobile’s fault, but can very quickly become T-Mobile’s *PROBLEM*, if these people who don’t have broadband options available to them end up defaulting to T-Mobile.

          Myself, I have a screaming FIOS connection at home, so I go on to WiFi in the house because I have the luxury.  But not everyone does, and even those who do, not everyone knows *how* to switch their phones.  Some people are just not so technologically inclined, which is how Apple got SO popular.

      • Nick

        Disagree.  Faster speeds would allow me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do all along.  That’s not my fault.  With faster speeds, who would only access the same amount of info they would have accessed on a 3g or 2g network?  No one!  That is the fault of the data speed.

        Instead of thinking about this with LTE/2g, think of it like dial up internet vs high speed.  Of course you’ll view more pages and download more content when you’ve gota  faster connection.  that’s not my fault.

        I’ve got the 5gb data plan and dont’ come close to my limit so it doesn’t affect me currently.

        • Guest911

          Understand. My comment still stands – you change your behavior due to faster speeds. That has nothing to do with the speed itself but with *you*. (I’m not picking on you, sorry!)

          If you access the same amount of data, you will have the same amount if usage.

      • Whiskers

        But you use a lot more gas to get there faster !

  • Phozfate

    all this stuff about t-mobile sounds promising. I was thinking of leaving but I may give them the next year and see where they are at

  • Anonymous

    Does it mean t-mo will stop ALL refarming efforts to 1900MHz and phones that support umts on pcs(=1900MHz) band continue to NOT work on t-mo?

    • Jays_on

      +1. The article is a little ambiguous. The earlier news of tmo making iPhones work on 3G was very exciting.

      David, I know you are an iPhone user, from one to another, do you know exactly what is going to happen to us?

      • I don’t see any reason for anyone to think this changes anything from what was said last week? Nothing has changed except for T-Mobile leap-frogging HSPA+ 84 in favor of LTE. Everything that was said last week about 1900 refarming stands, along with the iPhone’s and 3G. All is well! :-)

        • Jays_on1

           Super exciting!!! Thanks D!

        • Absolutely!!!

        • Gwapo

          Amen!!! 3G on our Iphone 4$!!!!

        • Alanperalta61

          But went will that happen cuz iphone 5 is coming

  • Anonymous

    Good! however i hope this re-farming effort doesn’t negatively impact their coverage reach.

    I am glad to hear they are taking this route.  Should be interesting.

  • Chris

    No! I like hspa+ my phone doesn’t die in 2 hours and is still super thin! If hspa+ can be faster then late why switch? Wait until you’re at the end of hspa+ usage then switch over. That’s why tmobile’s 3g was so good, because they waited longer to deploy it!

    • Anonymous

      It was also cheaper for them to deploy 3G cause everyone already has it. But I do like how it was Ike turning on a light switch when it was deployed.

    • Wolfwood

      Battery life will continue to improve as the LTE chipset is improved. Don’t look at current numbers as indicative of the future.

      • Also bear in mind most LTE handsets at the moment have to be on both 2G/3G and 4G networks simultaneously because few carriers have enabled voice over the LTE network. Once the networks start switching on voice support (be it VoLTE, IMS, or anything else), battery lives will become a lot more pleasant.

  • Vim

    +Network Coverage Expansion (Places w/Only 2 G Now Get 3G/”4G”)
    +Network Capacity Increase (LTE Can Take More Load)
    +Increased Handset Selection (Band Harmonization)
    +Easier Marketing (can use the LTE buzzword)

    -Next Network Speed Increase Delayed a Few Months to a Year. 
    -Older AWS-Only HPSA+ Handset Users May Find Particularly Congested Areas Get Worse.

    Fortunately, T-Mobile’s network isn’t particularly congested.  Spotty coverage has always been a bigger issue, and it’s nice to see effort being made to address that.  All in all, the new plan strikes me as the best decision possible given T-Mobile’s limited spectrum holdings. 

  • Chris Johnson

    I would like to know as well whether the farming to 1900mhz would still continue as that could be a major selling point for Tmobile having AT&T phones working on HSPA+

  • Vim

    Hmm…that Verge article probably contains an error.  It stated that T-Mobile needed to refarm the PCS band to upgrade to HSPA+ 84, but no additional bandwidth is required for MIMO, only the additional antennas.  HSPA+ 84 also wasn’t one of the two reasons given by T-Mobile for the refarm of PCS, ie. band harmonization and making room for LTE on AWS.  So I have no idea where the author pulled that from. If his source actually said that then he needs to make that clear.   That statement can also be taken to imply, probably inadvertently, that the refarm to HSPA+ on PCS is cancelled in favor of a refarm to LTE on PCS.   The author needs to issue a clarification.

    • Anonymous

      I could be wrong, but I do not believe that T-Mobile had any intention of deploying MIMO Dual Carrier HSPA+ 84.  Rather, T-Mobile was considering Multi Carrier HSPA+ 84, which would have required a total of 40 MHz of bandwidth (hence some spectrum refarming).  MIMO is a lesser solution on W-CDMA than it is on OFDMA, particularly as MIMO degrades service for non MIMO W-CDMA users.


      • Anonymous

        I actually agree with you.  It was probably a smoke screen to cover up last minute decision making in the process.

      • Vim

        T-Mobile works closely with Qualcomm to ensure there are chips that support T-Mobile’s latest network upgrades.  The quad-core chips Qualcomm was preparing to release later this year have support for “Release 9 84mbps HSPA+”.  Release 9 is Dual Carrier+MIMO.  Triple and Quad Carrier didn’t get into the HSDPA spec until Release 10.   Even before this announcement, Triple and Quad Carrier weren’t on the menu until late 2013 at the earliest. 

  • Minioninnc

    Well this is FINALLY good news to all of us still on the big E, and no I am not talking about an enema. EDGE, I will finally get this off of my phone. It may be 2 years from now, and I may be dead by then, so I may not see it. But I will have someone check to see that it finally happened and have them let me know through a Quija board. 

  • Jmiranda707

    A couple of years?! wow. T-Mobile needs LTE as soon as possible. 

    • My problems with comments like this is that in the meantime HSPA+ offers LTE-like speeds and provides you a fast enough browsing experience to hold on while LTE is deployed.

      • Jays_on1

         AND better battier life.

        • Kirk

          Droid Razr Maxx on LTE
          S4 chip LTE SOC

          Better battery life? LOL

        • Anonymous

          Reference? every LTE device besides that.

      • Kirk

        No it doesn’t David, and of course you would say that being the owner of Tmonews.

        Slow pings and bad coverage. Did they suddenly turn off a bunch of towers or something? T-Mobile coverage use to not suck this bad. 
        The only time HSPA+ is as fast as LTE is 4 in the morning when everyone is asleep and you are standing right under the Tower.

        • My being the owner, editor or writer of this site has little to do with my actual outlook. I’m often the first to criticize T-Mobile and their network if/when I need to. I seriously doubt it’s at 4 in the morning and it sounds more like you’re having a bad experience than what is actually, theoretically possible.

        • Edy6401

          Oh my God! That is not true for everyone. My speeds are constantly 8-9mbps. That is plenty fast, for browsing, netflix and everything else. Stop making it look like your opinions is all that matters. And David is as impartial as you can get. Mock it off!!!

        • So what you’re saying is that HSPA+ at its worst is not as good as LTE at its best?

          Well, d’uh!

          I agree with David on this. And I have to admit I’m a little perplexed as to why T-Mobile is so adamant it needs to go LTE at all. I say this as an LTE fan, but HSPA+ fixes most of the latency and bandwidth issues of W-CDMA (which sucks – if it wasn’t for Qualcomm’s dishonest lobbying we’d never have seen the insistence 3G GSM be based on code division multiple access), and it’s here now, and T-Mobile has a network based on it.

          From what I can figure out, it’s all marketing. And, frankly, spending billions on marketing is an astonishing waste of money.

        • Diana

          The only time HSPA+ is as fast as LTE is 4 in the morning when everyone is asleep and you are standing right under the Tower.


          I got *19.36 Mbps down* at 9 AM on a Tuesday.  I was at a stoplight and didn’t even see a tower.

      • Edy6401

        It sure does. I wish people would educate themselves before posting.

    • Anonymous

      Well they can’t just bring LTE over night.

    • Anonymous

      Where did this “NEED” for LTE come from? T-mo does not need LTE what they have works and everyone on the network benefits from it. Why does T-mo need this and that? all T-mo needs is better coverage and to go back to old t-mobile values that got them here today.

  • Mark

    All phones will be 3G or greater?  So, what does that mean for pure voice or voice+text phones going forward?  Not to mention my partner’s 4yo Samsung clamshell which she has assured me she won’t be upgrading until it is completely incapable of functioning.

  • Thecityboy781

    I’ll be in another carrier by the time this is done….

    • Tbyrne

      And paying more for what you’ll be getting if you stay with T-Mobile!

      • Edy6401


  • Gwapo

    I will be very happy once I get 3G on my Iphone 4$!!!!!

  • TMoFan

    Is the voice quality going to be better, or the same as wi-fi calling? Wi-fi calling has helped me out a few times, but there is a noticeable difference when on wifi calling and gsm. Good move if the quality is the same, or better.

    Very interested to see how this whole thing plays out.

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, I’d prefer to use 10MHz for HSPA and 10MHz for LTE than using the whole 20MHz for HSPA.
    Why? to sum of the throughput is better with LTE+HSPA combo.

  • hater on the rocks

    im sticking what i know best that hspa+ save battery and lte drains battery. so until they dont offer hspa+ devices im gonna stick with it and plus hspa+ is or equal to lte speed anyway.

  • tommy

    Does this mean the current phones will not work on LTE? In this case I might put-off buying a new phone that is not LTE, from TMobile. Bad news for me!!!

  • Hudi Grossman

    If i get the new NOKIA LUMIA 900 unlocked it will run on the new refarmed 1900 HSPDA+ bands, but when they roll out LTE will i get to run on the T-Mobile LTE network?

  • I don’t like it.
    HSPA+ is blazing fast and switching the entire network over to something new and not any better for mobile browsing seems like a huge waste of time and money that will inconvenience customers.
    What is the upside? To appear more relevant to tech nerds?
    This worries me.

  • SoYouMad??

    ok so now you guys are complaining about LTE now.. but before.. yall were crying your ass off because they didnt have LTE….WTF. Yall would never be satisfied at all. Just shut up deal with it or get the fuck off of tmobiles network and hop on att, verizon or sprints dick. just be glad they went with LTE as most high powered phones now supports LTE that tmobile cant get because they have hspa or hspa+. they might get the lg 4x quad core nividia version instead of the dual core version since they are gonna launch lte. so who knows this is just my opinion. But honestly stop crying for what you want and then complain when ur about to get what you want makes no sense.

  • Wp7 Tamer

    off topic: my contract ends in march 27. i am definetely going to get the Nokia Lumia 710 despite what anybody thinks of it. i was just wondering if the Lumia 900 was going to be out on t-mobile soon i wouldn’t mind waiting until may to get it

  • Aarpn

    I heard from a Nokia employee that t-mobile would have the lumia 910, the 900 with a better camera, between August and September.

  • Kirk

    “T-Mobile is not looking at VoLTE (voice over LTE) as a calling option for its LTE 4G network, instead transitioning its voice services to the IMS-based Wi-Fi calling feature already available on most T-Mobile smartphones… T-Mobile believes that IMS-based calls will be its preferred technology of choice for voice calls over its upcoming LTE 4G network.”

    WTF? So T-Mobile is turning into Republic Wireless? First it was bring your own phone on value plans, now it’s bring your own WiFi too. Then why do I need T-Mobile? Maybe someone can clarify. I must be missing something.

    • The Wi-Fi still requires the T-Mobile signal to make and complete the call. The Wi-Fi is a boost.

      • Kirk

        Ohhhh, why didn’t you say so! the WiFi is a “boost!” I get it now!!! And of course you still need T-Mobile to make and complete the call, otherwise how could T-Mobile justify charging YOU for service that YOUR BROADBAND PROVIDER provides.

        So the monthly payment I make to T-Mobile isn’t enough to get reliable Voice and Data service on my mobile device everywhere I go.  T-Mobile, instead of investing, building, strengthening and expanding their network with more towers and better technology to result in better coverage and building penetration expects ME to pay ANOTHER MONTHLY FEE to a BROADBAND or dsl provider so I can use my T-Mobile phone  reliably. Wait why was I paying T-Mobile again?

        T-Mobile Service= Bring your own phone or pay full retail on EIP for a new one, sign up for the value plan with Unlimited Voice and Data $49.99 plus bring your own $30-$70 a month RoadRunner Broadband WiFi service. Don’t try that cheap $20 dollar a month DSLl either, because if you want clear calls on WiFi you need FAST Broadband speeds.

        Let us add this up.
        New Phone full retail: 200 down payment plus $20 a month phone payments.
        Value plan $49.99 (don’t forget the 2 yr contract even though you paid for the phone yourself)
        Broadband service $30-$70
        Total Monthly $100-140 for one line

        T-Mobile the value leader?

        Thank you David for Clarifying.

        • T user

          Many people already have high speed internet at home for other reasons, so this is not necessarily an additional cost. Some recent studies have shown that smart phone users consume 60%- 70% of total data on wi-fi versus mobile. This is part of the reason there are a million or so iPhone users “suffering” with Edge data on T-Mobile with fast wi-fi data being predominantly used.

          GSM/UMTS/HSPA phones can be had for quite reasonable prices if you don’t need the latest model. I purchased a brand new Nokia N900 from Nokia USA for $200 11 months after it’s initial release. The Samsung Exhibit II 4G is less than $200 new (pre-paid) at Wal-Mart. Lots of deals out there.

          I agree with you on the requirement of a 2 year contract for BYOD, but that’s the line that T-Mobile has drawn in the sand. To seperate value from pre-paid, they do offer roaming, corporate discounts, etc. We have the 15% corporate discount, and it covers all lines and all services on every line. Our bills is significantly less than comparable service on Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T. Republic Wireless is probably the only one less expensive for our use, but that’s a beta product at the moment.

          Wireless signals from carriers’ towers/antennas will never cover everywhere. My basement is a great example. No wireless carrier provides tower/antenna based, landline voice quality downstairs. Not a problem though, UMA from T-Mobile does the trick using our home cable wi-fi that provides a very strong signal downstairs. This is not an excuse for T-Mobile to ignore network expansion or improvements, just a recognition of reality. All the other carriers also offer less versatile femtocells for similar poor coverage areas.

          Finally, David is correct in that the T-Mobile network is used to to route calls that originate from a home wi-fi connection. T-Mobile also pays the connection fees to other networks to connect the calls (landlines, other mobiles). Skype Out on my N900 over Wi-Fi is NOT a free service, as one example of a comparable product that uses Wi-Fi to connect to an external phone network.

          There are lots of different ways to look at this.

        • Brian

           You truly are an idiot, man when I read what you wrote I wanted to slap u across the face for being such a negative person.

          Not sure you understand that WiFi is like an extension of the network, Do you pay for WiFi at Starbucks or anywhere else. When you are at home and you have your WiFi antenna on, this all happens seamlessly. Your phone displays UMA and everything is pulled in via the WiFi Antenna. It actually saves on your battery life, YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT NEED T-MOBILE SIGNAL AT ALL to be able to make the call. You do need the contract with the company because their infrastructure supports the technology. Take a verizon phone or AT&T phone and tell me if you can make the same call. Im sure there are APPs out there that enable that feature that is already built in most T-Mobile phones and it works far better than the APPs.

          You need to do some homework before you act like an Idiot. Also, LTE Advanced is 4g, which none of the carriers have and T-Mobile will be the first carrier to have the capability to launch LTE Advanced. What T-Mobile is doing is smart, once the iPhone 5 becomes available and supports HSPA+ 21MBs, Iphone 5 will be capable of 4G speeds that are faster than Verizons LTE Standard. People are too gullable for their own good. Handsets still need to be produced that are even capable of handling all these technologies. Just though you should know how ignorant you are being. Have a good day

      • You can make Wifi calls with no T-Mobile signal at all. I’ve done it before.

        • Cornell1426

          I do this all the time at my job in a windowless basement where other carriers phones won’t work at all. T-mobile’s HSPA+ network hands over to Wifi & back without ever dropping a call. I know for a fact that their LTE network will be better than both AT&T and Verizon. T-mobile recently beat all carriers in a speed test in New York last summer. ” Sprint’s speed didn’t even compare at less than half the speed of t-mobile.

    • The article is confusing a lot of readers in that it breaks out “VoLTE” without clarifying this is one such standard.

      What the article is actually saying is that they’re using the same standard for calls over LTE that they’re currently using for calls over Wifi. It’s called IMS. LTE and Wifi are both IP only networks, so pretty much anything that works over Wifi will “work” for LTE, although possibly not as well.

      Think about it – anything else wouldn’t make sense. Why would T-Mobile require users have access to Wifi whenever they want to use LTE?

  • denny

    does that mean without the IMS-based client, you can’t make phone calls over LTE on T-Mobile? Currently the wifi-calling client isn’t a downloadable app because it requires a custom kernel and is only available on stock T-Mobile ROMS. Assuming that will continue to be the case, does this mean if I buy a future LTE ‘nexus’ phone or flash a different ROM on my LTE T-Mobile phone that I’m SOL if I wanna make calls over LTE?

    • FILA

      i dont kno what your talking about i got the T-Mobile WiFi calling app and im on a rooted and CM& mytouch 4G

    • now_ontMO

      im no expert but this is how i understand it… it wont have the voice-over-lte calling feature but you can still make calls on 3g, lte switches to 3g when making calls.. with IMS clients, while on a wifi call and you leave your wifi range,the call wont be dropped because of LTE.. 
      something like that..lol

      • Voice over LTE will work. VoLTE will not. VoLTE is a particular standard that implements voice over LTE. IMS is another. T-Mobile is chosing IMS over VoLTE, largely because they already have IMS infrastructure.

        There are actually three standards for voice over LTE:

        – IMS – LTE was designed under the assumption that’s what carriers would use. And IMS was designed under the assumption that the next generation of mobile networks would be all IP.
        – UMA (the original “Wifi-calling” – the one that doesn’t drop calls), rejected largely because it’s 100% proprietary.
        – VoLTE – A standard currently in development designed to address perceived issues with IMS.

        Does the article above make more sense now?

    • CyanogenMod comes with Wifi calling for T-Mobile phones.

      In any case, I’d expect the situation to be better, not worse. IMS is a public standard. Right now third party ROMs have to use proprietary implementations due to the lack of standards in this area, but simply adding IMS (and VoLTE) support to Android centrally would solve all that. It would seem probable that this, ultimately, is what will happen.

  • Littlesis1774

    All I just want is the iphone to work on their so I don’t have use edge

  • scarfacemario

    Exactly I dont understand people they just cant get satisfied its,stupid

  • Anonymous

    Not going VoLTE is stupid why even have the technology if you are going to still rely on 3G HSPA+ to make a call? If you transition to LTE just go LTE fully it doesn’t make sense. Everyone hypes up this ridiculous technology making carriers adopt it when its not even ready for primetime.  

    • LTE without VoLTE is not the same as LTE without voice!

      What T-Mobile is proposing is using the *standard* LTE voice system – that is, the system the 3GPP originally proposed that, for various reasons, many carriers balked at. The standard for voice over LTE is IMS.

      VoLTE is a set of standards built on top of, and in parallel with, IMS, that handles various issues with bandwidth management, etc, that carriers like Verizon felt are necessary. Not everyone sees these as necessary, and it appears T-Mobile is one of those.

      One of the advantages of going standard IMS is that T-Mobile already has the infrastructure in place. They’re currently using IMS for Wi-fi calling on Android handsets.

      You will absolutely NOT have to use 3G to make a call, and in fact, T-Mobile will probably be the first carrier in the US to roll out an LTE network that, right from the start, doesn’t need a companion network for voice coverage. Verizon, AT&T, and MetroPCS, are still requiring voice calls go over 2G or 3G, which is part of the reason why battery lives on 4G handsets appear to be so poor. (Sprint is doing the same thing with its WiMAX network – data over WiMAX, voice over cdma2000/cdmaOne)

  • GinaDee

    Why is T-Mobile going against the grain here?  They are skipping VoLTE because they are cash strapped.  They are skipping HSPA+ 84 Mbps for the same reason.  Cash strapped.

    Logic says if you don’t have the spectrum to do both LTE and HSPA+ in certain areas they should at the very least make HSPA+ as good as it get as a fallback.  This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the LTE network will be robust nor does it inspire any confidence that the areas that are GPRS now will ever see anything better. T-Mobile has nearly 50k cell sites nationwide but they only plan on upgrading 37k which is indicative of their HSPA + footprint focused only in metro areas.  

    DT needs to do an IPO for T-Mobile USA so a company that is willing to invest the money can really bulk up its network.  T-Mobile really needs a $10-15 billion per year cash infusion for the next 2-3 years in CAPEX so they can upgrade all their rural sites and expand the network beyond it’s skeletal footprint.  

  • Anonymous

    You say that like everyone is one voice. Everyone has a different opinion and mine has always been consistent stay on HSPA+ no LTE. LTE is simply not ready for primetime. People complain about it though because of the hype people put on it, then in turn businesses find a way to make that work because people buy into it blindly. Without the hype we wouldn’t even need this route but because people complain businesses give in sorta like how everyone adopted the iPhone. If you complain long enough eventually you will get what you want is what i am saying.

  • Winski

    So this means that T-Mumble is going to start deploying copper land lines again, hey? Major advance for these guys… Wow..

  • Frigadroid

    Last month its 84+ now the “challenger” stragety. What will they come up with next month the “titanic” transition plan? Sounds and looks like what’s going on to me is a lot of waffling to cover up the fact that they don’t know what to do with the meager resources that they have to work with.
    Please tmobile try to think outside of the cable box. The cell phone is constantly evolving as an all in one device. It would be nice to see an old friend like tmobile get ahead of the curve for once by being the first carrier that provides a future groundbreaking service.
    The negative is they don’t have enough money for anything groundbreaking and to become my dream provider they would probably have to merge with some sleazy media company. Who honestly believes Oberman and Humm? They don’t want to build anything they are just looking to merge or sell that’s their specialty, so they will say anything to try and gain customer and employee support. Wait and see.

  • Anonymous

    hey so does that mean anyone with an iphone 4S will suddenly see “close-to-4g-hspa+” speeds because of the new 1900mhz band?

    What does this mean for the current 2100mhz band? (I really don’t get
    the whole utms, hspa+, 3g distinction, if someone could explain it, that
    would be great, thanks)

    Also, do tmobiles current phones all support the upcoming 1700mhz LTE
    band? The reason I’m asking is that I don’t want to buy a phone now and
    have the connection be obsolete in a year.

    Would all current tmobile phones support LTE and 3g in other countries?


  • guest

     Tmobile is having on after hour sale on their website tonight.  All phones are free or heavily discounted

    • AhhYo

       Is it really free or do you have to pay first then receive credit/pre-paid cc?

  • With LTE being IMS over VoLTE it makes T-Mobile yet again, completely incompatible with roaming and standards in the USA. Sprint and T-Mobile MAY come close to roaming IF T-Mobile also puts LTE on 1900Mhz like Sprint does, and from my understanding Sprint has IMS in the works, but has not selected a standard for voice over LTE.

    • JMccovery

       You do know that VoLTE is based on IMS, right? The correct term for the Voice-over-LTE spec that Verizon (and maybe At&t) will use is called GSMA VoLTE (http://www.gsma.com/volte/).

      GSMA VoLTE is IMS where “GSMA have expanded upon the original scope of One Voice work to address
      the entire end-to-end voice and SMS ecosystem by also focussing on
      Roaming and Interconnect interfaces, in addition the interface between
      customer and network.”

      The gist of GSMA VoLTE is to reduce the impact of voice/data roaming on ‘visited’ networks, which could eliminate roaming agreements/contracts/disputes.*

      The 3GPP standard IMS is what is currently being used for Wi-Fi calling, and by using IMS with LTE (and possibly HSPA), T-Mobile lessens the extra ‘work’ needed to get voice running over 4G networks.

      *(Not completely eliminate the roaming “issue”, you can be assured that US carriers will find a way to charge end-users for roaming, even if it will cost them less.)

      On thing I want to know, if T-Mobile is refarming the 1700 band for LTE, will HSPA run underneath LTE, and how will the transition affect markets that recently had 3G/4G turned on (like Mobile, AL)?

  • Mavenir Marketing

    Voice over LTE or VoLTE, which is an IMS based service, will use the exact same infrastructure as the WiFi calling service mentioned.  There is no difference.  This puts T-Mobile at a significant advantage over its competitors, since they will be ready for VoIP calling over any access network, LTE, WiFi and also including HSPA+.  They are the first to launch.  No other operator will be able to do that. 

    The service is standards based, and will allow users to roam on other networks. 

    Their transition to 3G only phones, will eliminate the need for any 2G handover, removing complexity for the users.