T-Mobile will shut off MetroPCS network in Boston, Las Vegas and Philly by year’s end


Over the past 12 months, T-Mobile’s network roll-out speed has been phenomenal. It’s ahead of schedule with its LTE expansion, and ahead of schedule in migrating customers from the old MetroPCS network over to T-Mobile.

As part of its earnings results yesterday, Tmo announced that it plans on decommissioning MetroPCS’ CDMA-based networks as soon as the end of this year. In fact, in three cities, it will be switched off completely before 2015 comes ringing in. Las Vegas, Boston and Philadelphia MetroPCS will turn off by the end of December.

Since merging with the company last May, T-Mobile’s been working to get customers switched over to T-Mobile compatible device. So far, around 40% of subscribers have done so (or around 3.5 million customers). What’s more, a quarter of the spectrum gained by merging with MetroPCS has already been reused or re-farmed for use in Tmo’s LTE rollout.

“We were able to get this done more quickly than we had expected,” Carter said. “We were conservative in our original projections. But we think this will offer a lot of synergies that will result in cost savings in the future.”

Of course, there are still customers yet to switch over to Magenta-flavored devices. And for those who haven’t switched by the time the old network is decommissioned, roaming agreements will be in place so they’re not left without the ability receive cell signal. T-Mobile is also planning “more aggressive handset swap-out promotions”. And, although the network might be disappearing, the brand name will not. Tmo will continue to sell devices under the MetroPCS brand, despite continuing to use T-Mobile’s own prepaid brand. Both brands target different markets and hold value, even if they might cause a little confusion for some.


Tags: , , , ,

  • Chris

    Wow very nice. Seems things are moving extremely fast for T-Mobile, which is rare in corporations

  • Verizonthunder

    I hope T-mobile continues the lte expansion pace and add new expansion of old edge towers to lte.

    • yeah right

      It may not be as widespread as say verizon or At&t but they plan to cover more than 250 + million pops with AWS LTE. This means their current coverage map of (205 – 210 million pops) will probably need to double in size this year. Meanings expect coverage area to expand outwards from cities further into suburbs and potentially along very busy highways.

      • philyew

        For some reason, the slide deck for the Q4 Results presentation is throwing an authorization error when I try to download it so I can’t check this, but I don’t recall them specifying that the 2014 target for LTE deployment (i.e. 250M POPs) was going to be delivered using AWS spectrum.

        Is there somewhere that states this categorically? Otherwise, I think they will reach that target by deploying LTE on the 700MHz A-Block spectrum later in the year, while making some very modest progress in the earlier part of the year using AWS.

        • thepanttherlady

          I was able to access them earlier but I’m getting the error now too. Try this:


        • philyew

          Thanks! As I thought, they don’t specify the spectrum they will be using to achieve the 250M POPs target, which would suggest, almost certainly, that it will be a combination of AWS and 700MHz A-Block.

        • vrm

          The edge only towers can probably be made to transmit LTE (with some s/w upgrade) in addition, can’t they ? And EDGE is on 1900 Mhz ?!

          So perhaps they will use 1900mhz on some edge only towers and where they do have 700 mhz spectrum, they will upgrade the equipment as well.


        • philyew

          Any cell site which is going to deliver LTE will have to go through the modernization process and by equipped with either new NSN or Ericsson hardware, plus the supporting changes on the backhaul.

          Since there is AWS licensing in most areas and the new hardware will obviously support services on AWS spectrum, I don’t think it will be necessary to do anything with the PCS (1900) spectrum, other than maybe re-provision it to support some HSPA+ service, as has happened everywhere else that the upgrades have been carried out.

          The key is the engineering work to modernize the sites and boost backhaul. I just don’t think they will do a lot of that outside the broader suburbs and along the main highways…at least not for the foreseeable future.

  • stefan

    Kurwa !! More tower for Chicago !!!!!!!

    • xmiro

      Who are you camping a kurwa?lol

  • sidekicker89

    So I guess the 700Mhz A block hasn’t been transferred to T-Mobile yet?

    • dtam

      Hasn’t been approved by the FCC yet…though T-mobile already owns the rights in some areas (Boston)

      • Jay Holm

        Is the FCC sleeping or something???

        • Erik

          no that went through about 3 weeks ago, about 4 months sooner than the total 180 days…

        • philyew

          That was the DoJ approval, not FCC. Their interests are different.

          DoJ has to consider anti-competitive factors. FCC has to consider usage issues and enable a process for objections to be tabled.

        • Jay Holm

          Which takes gazillions of years apparently!!! This needs to be expedited!!!

        • philyew

          According to the Bennet & Bennet law site, here is the formal pleading cycle defined by the FCC for this transaction:

          Petitions to deny are due Friday, February 28, 2014,
          Oppositions to petitions to deny are due Monday, March 10, 2014 and
          Replies to oppositions are due Monday, March 17, 2014.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        DOJ already did

        • dtam

          ah, must have missed that. i blame valentines day!

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          I blame ATT

        • tman10449

          Facts, facts, facts…. DOJ signed off, not FCC yet. Info was right on tmonews..

          DoJ signs off on T-Mobile acquisition of Verizon’s A-block spectrum
          February 14, 2014

  • steveb944

    This is great. The sooner it’s done, the more efficient bandwidth is used.

  • archerian

    Who’s Carter?

    • Guest

      Braxton Carter, the former CFO of MetroPCS and current CFO of Tmobile.

  • Guest

    Detroit will be turned off no later than February 1st 2015 as we are giving Verizon all the spectrum that is used for CDMA in Michigan

    • tman10449

      Not all Metro in Detroit is sold to Verizon. Just in excess of 20×20. It was also not “Given”, it was sold as part of the spectrum swap for the 700 mhz. Did you do your research before stating your fact in error?

      • Guest

        I’m just talking about there CDMA spectrum. We repurposed there LTE spectrum to allow us to go to 20×20 LTE. I am an actual engineering employee in Detroit and have sat through the meetings about this issue.

        • tman10449

          Not to troll you on your grammar, but “We repurposed there LTE” Should actually be, “We repurposed their” lol

          In any event, you are referring to the 1900 pcs frequency that Metro PCS uses in Detroit for CDMA, which was previously scheduled to be shut down way prior to the 700 block purchase from Verizon.

          Since you are an engineer, maybe you could enlighten us more as to what blocks of the 1900 are already refarmed and being used for the hspa+ (previously edge/gsm) and which blocks of the 1900 are Metro PCS CDMA. Might be good information to enlighten folks with.

        • Guest

          1900 band 3G: UL=1850-1910 DL=1930-1990
          Metro CDMA: UL=1885-1890 DL=1965-1970
          LTE: UL=1735-1750 DL=2135-2150

        • So the PCS E block spectrum that T-Mobile received through MetroPCS for BTA112 (Detroit BTA) is being transferred as part of the transaction to acquire Verizon’s Lower 700MHz A block spectrum. T-Mobile is willing to give up this license because it owns the full PCS C block license (1895-1910 / 1975-1990) for the Detroit area from SunCom Wireless. Outside of the Detroit area (but within the Detroit BTA), T-Mobile has other licenses to beef up its PCS allocation.

          The transaction agreement document gives T-Mobile a few months to shift or shut down any network operating on the PCS licenses T-Mobile is transferring in Detroit and other areas to VZW. That probably prompted the accelerated shutdown.

        • enkay1

          Thanks for clarifying that. I was wondering if that would mess up (at least in Detroit) T-Mobile’s plans to move their HSPA+ network over to 1900.

        • guest

          Don’t troll on the grammar unless you spell the word correctly!

        • TMOTECH

          Careful what you say on this forum. I was almost fired for saying things I thought were innocuous but turned out to be inside info not for public consumption. Keep your head down brother. We all know that the engineering department is fat. Don’t give them a reason to consider you expendable.

        • peralta61

          One question what type of engineering to you work and to you work for Ericsson I would like to get in the field just a question

  • Aurizen

    So metro wont exist in Philly? or would it be all T-Mobile in Philly and no more Metro at all?

    • AngusMightHaveABeef

      MetroPCS itself will still exist, they just will be using the T-Mobile network. The MetroPCS network is what is going away.

    • philyew

      According to this report, TM will keep the MetroPCS brand alive, but customers will be using either TM-compatible devices on the TM network, or their old MetroPCS CDMA devices supported by roaming agreements. New customers will be getting the TM-compatible devices already, presumably.

      • Aurizen

        Ah, ok thats cool, I look forward to them using their resources to build on T-Mobile. to get 20×20

  • Alex Zapata

    I wonder what’s going to happen with the MetroPCS RCS client……

    • enkay1

      I hope T-Mobile adopts Joyn. It would be a nice step towards VoLTE and more IMS services besides WiFi Calling.

      • Alex Zapata

        In an ideal world RCS would take over SMS/MMS. If everything could be done through the built-in dialer that would be even better.

  • Matt

    I still don’t really understand what the difference between the T-Mobile 70.00 plan and the MetroPCS 60.00 plan. Someone want to enlighten me?

    • Rod

      No EIP, Jump, or roaming on Metro, and it’s “pre-paid”

    • S. Ali

      No international data, roaming, tower priority, customer service

    • Paul

      There’s a hierarchy that goes with T-Mobile. If you’re on Magenta you get LTE speeds, and on Metro you may not get the same speeds.

      The other comments are true as well.