T-Mobile HSPA+/LTE Network Will Use Integrated Radios, Won’t Completely End 2G Network

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, speaking with Fierce Wireless explained that T-Mobile will be the first wireless carrier to deploy integrated radios in North America. Ray says that integrated radios will be critical to T-Mobile’s network modernization process and its deployment of LTE Release 10. By integrating the antenna and the radio, power consumption can be reduced and less space is required on each tower. T-Mobile’s network modernization plan, which has only come to light in the past two weeks, came together internally in just eight weeks time. Ray says that T-Mobile is moving ahead as fast as it possibly can: “We are pushing as hard as we can.”

Ray continued to point out how T-Mobile will differentiate its LTE network from the competition by deploying LTE Release 10, which can be upgraded to LTE Advanced via a software upgrade. Ray explained that other operators, notably AT&T and Verizon have not deployed LTE Release 10 gear but instead opted to deploy LTE Release 8.

Ray confirmed that T-Mobile will continue to support its 2G customers as it refarms the 1900MHz spectrum adding that T-Mobile has no plans to decommission its GSM network. Ray emphasized that T-Mobile’s 2G network provides international roaming revenue and is home to a lot of their M2M customers.

Ray also said that T-Mobile is still considering HSPA+ 84 technology, (which we should point out, contradicts comments made earlier in the week by Senior Vice President Andrew Sherrard0 but has made no commitments noting that many chipset vendors have not included HSPA+ 84 in their roadmap. Ray finished by saying that there is still time for the HSPA+ 84 ecosystem to develop but that T-Mobile is now focused on their LTE roadmap.

Editors Note: Just to clarify for everyone who may ask, T-Mobile’s original LTE rollout will be theoretically capable of 72Mbps. The ability to software update the network to LTE 10 allows for T-Mobile to easily upgrade their network to much faster speeds with more backhaul. LTE 10 has a theoretical max of 150Mbps. For what it’s worth, our main spectrum guru Conan Kudo tells me that HSPA+ is really more network efficient than LTE up until release 10.

Fierce Wireless

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  • Wow i’m impressed.  T-Mobile always find way to differentiated from all the other carriers and succeed in competing in the North American market.  

    • Guest

      They are competing pretty good now huh?? What your job title at Tmobile?

    • Gouv

      That’s a big stretch lol 
      They are forced to do these things because they are often in a crappy situation with their resources and are falling behind fast in comparison to the other guys (i.e major customer losses).

  • PimpStrong

    Late with 3G turned out good as far as advancing HSPA+ and it looks like the same is going to happen with a late LTE network.  They are going to have a tough time over the next year and a half though without some major changes in the mean time.

    • jonathan3579

      Hey man, dont know if you looked into the Galaxy Nexus more or not but DailySteals has it (today only) for $530.

      • PimpStrong

        I was fighting with myself about selling my GSII for the Nexus but I just couldn’t pull myself to do it.  

        …Now I’m sitting here with a white Gnex in the basket at DailySteals!!  I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!

        • PimpStrong

          Yeah so I just bought myself a white Nexus lol!!

          I refuse to:
            A. Wait 9 months after Jellybean is released in order to get updated
            B. Be disappointed when my GSII is updated to ICS and it is still covered with 
                the same exact looking Touch Wiz launcher.  

          I’ve never liked the Touch Wiz launcher and so I’m putting TW to bed entirely.

          Now, who want’s to buy a GSII in perfectly good shape that has never had a ROM put on it??  $450 OBO

        • Tbyrne

          That’s a steep price but isn’t it funny how these smart phones are holding their value?

        • PimpStrong

          $450 is where it should be, $500 is high but $400 would fly. 
          There is not one single TMO GSII on Craigslist KC so I have a pretty good chance of getting $450.

          T-mobile’s high end stuff should (just guessing) hold real good value since we aren’t flooded with devices like VZW and ATT.  

        • Kalel

           You’d have saved more money by just rooting your GSII and installing CM9.

        • PimpStrong

          The TMO GSII is not currently supported by cyanogen and God only knows if it will be and when.  

          And besides, what’s a hundred bucks?

        • MK Terra

          Dammit, Cyanogen… Too often, people talk like it’ll install on anything.  I never realized just how spotty its compat list was until too late.

        • PimpStrong

          Disappointing isn’t it? And there are way too many GSII variations for them to support them all.

        • Enoel69

          I say pull the trigger…i was hesitating too but finally gave in and i love it. For that price it is worth it till the next Nexus and u can sell it

        • PimpStrong

          Trigger has been pulled!  LOL I just set a new record for myself keeping a phone at just 4.5 months!

          This one should hold me over until my next upgrade in Qtr. 2  2013.  LTE baby!!

        • Gouv

          If you get sick of things that easily than i suggest you never get married lol….

        • PimpStrong

          I’ll be marrying my girlfriend in September after 5 wonderful years.  This one is for life though, unlike my ex-wife lol

        • Gouv

          HAHA that almost proves my point.  JK congradulations!! 

        • jonathan3579

          Welcome to the club!!! The only issue you’ll have with DailySteals is it takes about 2 weeks to ship. (Sometimes sooner though.) I’d recommend taking pictures/video of you opening the box. I’m just really panic(y) to online retailers and phones, lol. You will love the Galaxy Nexus, trust me!

        • PimpStrong

          Two weeks!?  The site says up to 6 days…  Well its aight cuz its not like my current phone sux or is busted.  THANKS for givin me that heads up though man cuz I never would have cought that.  None of my sites even posted that.

      • Enoel69

        Got mine from them the last time for abt $560. 

        • Dimartini72

          Does the Galaxy Nexus work on TMO’S 4 G?

        • PimpStrong

          Even better, it works on TMO’s AND AT&T’s 4G(up to 21Mbps for both).  That has to be a plus when considering the two companies’ new roaming agreement.  Whatever that turns out to be.

        • PimpStrong

          How long did it take for you to get yours?

      • PimpStrong

        Oops I replied to myself.

        See my post below @jonathan3579:disqus !!

  • Gwapo

    Alright!!! I just want the 1900 MHz so I can get 3G on my Iphone 4$

  • Tmo is the Turtle in that race hahahah

    • RealityBites

      Although I doubt they will catch the rabbit..

      • so Hey

        Why in world are you still trolling on here?.Don’t you have something to do…oh wait I forgot you have no life.

  • redman12

    I like where T-Mobile is heading, everything they do make sense for the long run.

  • When will the Samsung Galaxy S3 for Tmobile get released?

    • Desertbears

      Probably August. 

  • This is all Excellent and very great news, I’m very glad T-Mobile is taking LTE seriously and pushing so fast to get LTE v.10 out the door and then continue on HSPA+ 84 even still possibly.  These are all the right moves at the right speeds, lets see it come together now.

  • Ohgami

    As I see it yeah they will support 2G but as more and more countries start refarming their 2G frequencies so too will this effect the need for 2G here. Some have already cut off their 2G and went 3G only with 4G ramping up.

    • if this were about replacing analog or cdmaOne I’d agree with you. But 2G GSM is probably the most rock solid, works anywhere, mobile phone system ever devised, and it only needs a sliver of spectrum to work (a few hundred kHz.) If I had a GSM network, and was migrating to 4G, I’d switch off my 3G network, but I’d keep the 2G one around indefinitely. It’s a perfect back-up.

  • Nearmsp

    International roaming is a huge rip off the world over. The motto there is let me screw your customers and you can screw my customers when they travel overseas. The T-mobile roaming rates are ridiculous. In India it is $3.00 a minute. I can buy a local chip and use the phone for as less as 1 cents a minute with free incoming calls I thus end up buying a local SIM card in most countries that I travel to. Even Turkish cell charges are very cheap compared to T-mobile roaming rate. Clearly T-mobile will not switch off the GSM, not because of US customers but because the hidden secret of ripping off international customers operates like a cartel. EU Commission is tearing the roaming rates down EU wide, but until EU starts looking at rates for EU citizens traveling across the pond, we may not see reciprocal benefits of GSM roaming internationally.

    • Th3problem17

      smh what the hell are you rambling about? tmo’s roaming rates are lower then att verizon and sprint. why don’t you take advantage of gsm and unlock your phone that way you can pay turkish rates smart guy.

  • YBT

    Very cool that they are already looking ahead with LTE. Release 10 is where HSPA+ falls short. Here’s more information on HSPA+ VS LTE. Hoss is the boss! https://qualcommwirelessacademy.com/sites/default/files/videos/LTE_Demo/data/section02/index.html

  • JQuest

    I’d rather them be late with LTE and do it smartly, and cost friendly, than them rushing it out the door half-assed just to say “FIRST” sounds like they have a good plan.. hopefully things work out. I’m pretty excited.

  • Giraffe

    Now it’s time to rattle on some doors and ask the competitors when they’re getting release 10… hmm…

  • quantumslip

    i can’t wait for this as this means if i buy a phone from overseas i don’t have to use at&t to get 3g. looking at the padfone; hopefully the LTE version will be compatible with t-mobile’s LTE

  • mreveryphone

    Sounds like a great plan. Let the lte technology mature and roll out a solid network that doesn’t shut down every other day plus it’s software upgradeable on a handset level. Talk about innovation. And all it took was a failed merger to get tmo in gear. I’ll roll with you tmo LET’S GET IT!!!!!

  • TMoFan

    LTE release 10 gives T-Mobile a huge advantage when their ready for LTE-advance. All at&t did during the buyout was bash us, calling us “no-frills customers”, and T-Mobile but the direction they are taking they are ready to compete with at&t and the others.

    Love the new T-Mobile direction. Let’s kick ass.

  • Willingi001

    Screw lte as long as I get 15 mbps that’s good cuz lte only sucks battery

  • ChadBroChillz

    Love the fire tmobile is displaying, but do not believe it will be enough. Basically their plans is copying Sprint’s Network Vision, and Sprint will be done before Tmobile finish. Also Sprint will have beachfront property(sub 1Ghz spectrum) unlike tmobile. I am rooting for them, because I think a nationwide HSPA+( even if its just 21) with LTE on top is better than CDMA/LTE, but im afraid sprint will beat them out for best value in wireless.

  • Wshelton

    A+ for keeping GSM, the only reason I use TM.  Now just give me a iPhone that does not have to be jail-broken.

  • ja5219

    Wish they would give out more info on which areas they plan on refarming the 1900MHz spectrum first. :(
    GPRS just 10 miles north of HSPA coverage is very painful. (Western NC)
    But I do know that’s the case in many other areas across the country.

    Lets keep moving forward T-Mo!

    • ChadBroChillz

      They said they are upgrading 37,000 towers. I believe Tmobile has a total of 40-50k towers, and I believe that a lot of the towers not included will be towers that become redundant after CS  is done, so This will be a nationwide move. It should include your area as long as you have towers in your area, but it seems like your area might be at the later end of the plan.

    • Minioninnc

      I feel your pain there bro, I am in a location in NC, central area as a matter of fact thats brutal on EDGE. Let’s join forces and put up a tower. :) 

  • RealityBites

    So MWC is coming to a close and all we hear about is one phone coming to T-Mobile (confirmed)? Boys and Girls listen up despite what TMo is doing with there network, next year is frankly to little to late. A HTC sense phone is not going to save them in the coming months nor will the Blaze. The phones that could bring customers have yet to show their faces (iPhone, Galaxy Nexus). It might be time for all of us to think about jumping ship. This boat is going into the abyss. 

    • How many phones did you hear about for AT&T, Verizon or Sprint? MWC isn’t all about US carriers.

      • I’d say the MWC is usually NEVER about American carriers. The Mobile World Congress is about the GSM carriers across the world. If you want lots of American carrier announcements, wait until May when CTIA 2012 takes place.

        • RealityBites

          Indeed, you are correct. However, I have to argue this point, with T-Mobile being well behind the other carriers and losing customers in the droves they may need to announce phones ahead of CTIA and maybe hold a couple phones for the conference. Why? The year will be half over and T-Mobile will still have sub-par phones. I personally (notice I said personally) think that a Galaxy Nexus in June is silly unless they update some of the specs I’m not a quad core kind of a guy (because I like my battery) but a better screen maybe more internal memory (that most ppl wont use) and camera, then that will be worth while. I’m willing to bet they do get the GN but it will be the same phone. I’ve been with T-Mobile since they were voicestream (a long time) but they’re getting a little long in the tooth…

        • TMOTECH

          extra core processors are supposed to help battery life. Because they share the load and manage processes more efficiently.  

      • Erin

        Well, the phones that were announced for the GSM Americans carriers, AT&T got the better one, and yes they have the same processor, but the One X has an HD screen that is larger than that of the One S. T-Mobile has yet to launch a phone with an HD screen.

    • Kevinmarchibald

      I know you want confirmed phones, but wasn’t there a recent rumor about a T-Mobile Nexus device arriving in July? And some version of the GS3 in July or August as well?

      Not that I’d necessarily get one after the G2x fiasco, but I wish we knew whether/when T-Mobile would get the LG 4X HD.

      Maybe T-Mobile will get a phone with the Qualcomm S4 Pro SoC that has the much better GPU than the non-Pro S4 (for instance, the T-Mobile Nexus, since the TMO GS2 replaced the Exynos with the S3 for HSPA+ 48 reasons)?

  • Whiskers

    If T-Mobile does’nt get the next I5 or a High-End WM8 phone by the end of the year , i’m not signing another contract. I’m sick Android only options.

    • Tj6335709

       You will soon be able to bring your own device

      • Fangorious

        You can do that already. It’s just a matter of compatible UMTS frequency.

    • so Hey

      Good one less moron using up the network.

      • Whiskers

        Well Moron , your reading skills sure show off.
        I did’nt say leave , i said i would’nt sign another contract.
        So please spend more time learning that than showing your true skills.

      • Whiskers

        Well Moron , your reading skills sure show off.
        I did’nt say leave , i said i would’nt sign another contract.
        So please spend more time learning that than showing your true skills.

  • Gouv

    Clever move!! This is what i’ve been wanting to see from t-mobile for a long time now.  It’ll still be a struggle, and as usual i’m completely skeptical of T-Mobile and its ability to do something right, but at least their engineering teams seem to have their shit together.

    • Tbyrne

      Thanks for the optimism Gouv. I like it!

  • A lot of people think T-Mobile is behind, but in all reality, they are right on time. They will be deploying LTE when the technology is more mature, and therefore more stable. It won’t fail every other week like Verizon’s and won’t be extremely once-in-a-blue-moon patchy like AT&T’s.

    In all reality, if you look at the rest of the world, T-Mobile will be right alongside companies like O2 (trialing LTE in London), Everything Everywhere (deploying LTE late this year) and many European companies. http://trutower.com/2012/02/24/4g-lte-just-getting-started/

    I think T-Mobile’s plan, even if it takes a little longer than other US carriers, will create the best and most stable network overall. The layered technology and the fact that they’ve upgraded their HSPA+ network to 42 Mbps means their customers won’t experience a jarring slow-down like Verizon customers do if they should travel away from LTE areas. Give T-Mobile a bit more spectrum in areas they don’t cover and you’ve got an amazing network.

    Wishing T-Mobile all the best.

  • Memohugo

    you can cancel a value plan after 10 days?

  • WirelessRefugee

    This is a comment I wrote in response to some people disregarding or not understanding T-Mobile’s 2012-13 strategy, and instead dissing T-Mobile for not getting the iPhone or the Galaxy Nexus.

    Mobile World Congress is precisely that, a WORLD congress (or meeting)
    of those throughout the world in the wireless industry . So you should
    not have expected T-Mobile U.S. or DT  to announce upcoming phones for
    T-Mobile US.

    And as to phones, as I understand T-Mobile’s 2012-13 strategy its
    emphasis will be marketing T-Mobile to establish itself as the value 4G carrier, the best
    prices for the best 4G network.

    That’s a sound strategy since IMO T-Mobile does NOT have a handset
    problem (I don’t think getting the iPhone will matter all that much,
    except, as I said before, heighten T-Mobile’s reputation a bit and put
    it at the same level of the three carriers who have the handset).

    Anyway, handsets are not the issue with T-Mobile. T-Mobile needs to go
    back to what made it famous, good customer service, a quality network,
    at the lowest prices.

    And I think T-Mobile would do well to go after small business, on both
    data and talk. That’s a huge untapped market. (Like I said before,
    there’s more mom and pop businesses than there are
    corporations. So selling business wireless is where to go. I don’t know
    the market for that, but it has to be $50 to $100 billion. After all,
    every business needs data and phones).

    In these hard economic times consumers and business don’t want nicer
    phones, they want quality service and value. (To be sure, mom and pop
    businesses hunger for ways to cut costs and stop paying the robber
    barons, aka Verizon and AT&T. I doubt anyone in business is saying
    “I wish I had the iPhone.”)

    So with all respect to those lusting over a T-Mobile iPhone or other
    “fancy” handsets, sorry, I don’t think T-Mobile is going to get you what
    you covet.

    Sad But True: Aside from the fact that T-Mobile’s handsets are quite
    impressive (doesn’t T-Mobile have a huge number of 4G handsets in its
    inventory?) T-Mobile does not have the money to get the iPhone, nor to
    work out an exclusive deal on another high-end device.

    I know, how dare I say T-Mobile is “broke,” but it is. Recall the heated
    debate in here over our saying T-Mobile was (figuratively) “broke.”
    What I meant back then was that DT expects T-Mobile US to pay for its
    recovery and turnaround. So if the 2012-13 strategy is going to cost $5
    to $9 billion (I don’t know what the number is), T-Mobile US has to find
    that money, it is not going to come from Germany.

    And near as I can tell T-Mobile is doing things indicating that it will
    scrape together the money to turnaround T-Mobile U.S. For example, I
    read somewhere that T-Mobile was going to lease tower space to other
    carriers, the prepaids, for example. That’s a good thing since it tells
    you T-Mobile is moving ahead with plans to to finance T-Mobile’s
    improvements and turnaround.

    But this also tells me that T-Mobile does not have the money to get the iPhone or something else you fancy.

    Really though you should not be concerned about handsets. If T-Mobile
    pulls off becoming the value 4G carrier in the U.S., to BOTH consumers
    and small business, people will go back to being T-Mobile happy
    campers they once were.

    Sidenote: I still think T-Mobile’s fortunes lay in going totally prepaid on the consumer side. Despite the rude, discriminatory comments in here when I mentioned the Straight Talk Sim (where exclusive to Walmart stores one can use any GSM phone and pay $45 monthly for unlimited web, talk, and text) isn’t T-Mobile cozy with Walmart? IMO T-Mobile should immediately, if not sooner, get a competing deal offered at Walmart. Sheesh… Walmart is the world’s largest retailer. It has over $500 million in annual sales. To hell with Best Buy promotions, T-Mobile should be focusing efforts with the Walmart folks. I digress, forgive me.

    Pardon any formatting errors, I pasted this from my clipboard repository which sometimes goofs things up.

    • guest k

      T-Mobile has a deal with wal-mart to offer a similar program to straight talk it’s Wal-Mart Family Mobile $45 Unlimited Talk Text Web and it’s the reason why straight talk is getting a sim. Family Mobile offers a sim and first 30 days for $25 starter kit.

  • Anthonynyc1a

    very nice t-mobile you going to the right way.

  • Anthonynyc1a

    very good t- mobile you’re amazing,l love this company!

  • Guest

    Is this going to make 2g faster or 4g more readily available?  I’ve been with tmo for 2 years since swithching from Att and bought a 4g capable phone.  I’m on 2g for 90 percent of the time and 9 percent of the time on 4g.  The rest is on G. 


      By the time the LTE is rolled out MOST of the 2G network should have an HSPA+ overlay. The reason I say MOST and not all is because some cell sites may be completely out of reach of the Ethernet back haul needed to give you the true HSPA+ speeds. But Most is better than we have now. :-)

  • WirelessRefugee

     Quite accurate comment. It should be remembered that the almighty Verizon has repeatedly said it would not have LTE fully deployed until late 2013, if that.

    In any event, I think it a wise move that T-Mobile is getting its spectrum house in order. And as I said in my other comment, I think it the best strategy to move toward becoming the best-valued 4G carrier. The risks I see are many however.

    If DT does not sell T-Mobile US and moves forward with its plans, Germany has said TMOUS’ strategy (Challenger, etc.) must be self-funded.

    Not only are the investment houses skeptical, in this market (e.g., fuel prices moving to $5 a gallon), the wireless price war, prepaid momentum, and if T-Mobile keeps losing subscribers like it did in Q4 2011, even a layperson like myself can see there’s serious questions and risks.

    Even though the strategy looks good and sound right on paper, it will be quite a feat if T-Mobile can pull this off.

  • I have very fast T-Mobile HSPA+ speeds, getting over 10 MB down and 3.5 MB up, these speeds are during the day, peak hours. I can wait at those great data speeds for T-Mobile’s LTE.  I also have Verizon and their LTE in my area (Boston) is very fast but the battery will always be an issue. I purchased the Razr Maxx with their great battery. If I was to pick only one it would be T-Mobile due to the very fast HSPA+ and the great battery you get out of it. T-Mobile is # 1 with me.

  • Nathan

    How long with the refarming process take?

  • Rommel7133

    the 808 pure view,is pentaband-think tmo will get it dave?,i have the n8

  • Well that’s good, if they kill 2G and GSM I would have no coverage where I live.  There is no 3G coverage yet, no matter what the service map says.  And the dead spots are bigger then the map too.

  • Too bad they can’t be the first to completely get rid of older GSM support… that’d be bragging rights.

  • rj88

    because my iPhone 3g has a 1900mhz HSDPA band, does this mean it will be able to connect to their 3g network finally?? i see the 4S has been able to connect in specific areas. 


  • wsj

    And should have added the works on something other then Edge.

  • lfd

    How fast does the internet have to go?

  • lfd

    How fast does the internet really need to move? They are throttling at 5GB, most home internet connections start off at 15mb/s do we need lte if hspa+ can do 88??? What is the whole purpose of upgrades if they only provide marginal speed benfits?

  • Its really frustrating to have such shit data plans, on every carrier. :( Sprint is the last lone wolf, but I know they will change too. Why cant we have data freedom like unlimited SMS’s. Sure data is a different beast but the internet is used differently… The times we live in now -__-. I used to laugh at Canada for their horrific data offerings, but their warnings “It will happen to you, eh” sunk in and now have become our issue here too.

  • maruichan

    HOPEFULLY there’s no drawback to the integrated equipment setup. It’s good they’re using the up to date stuff and judging from the ‘spectrum expert’, an updated LTE might be worth it for Tmobile to pursue. They’re gonna need every tactic they can get, but for the average customer this means very little if the coverage in their area sucks. My father-in-law has been a customer for 10 years or so, but he might end up leaving to Verizon just simply because there’s no 3G where he is and he doesn’t want to have slow data everywhere he goes… cell phone companies are hard.

  • kennington

    Hopefully I will still be able to use my iphone…

  • Nick

    I noticed 3G on my iPhone 4S today while at work in Bellevue, WA. Unfortunately, it does not connect to 3G in Kent, WA.

  • Guest

    When TMO makes the change to LTE, will the samsung galaxy S3 still be compatible and fast?