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T-Mobile celebrates 1 year of LTE by launching major 2G/Edge network upgrade, and suing Verizon

12 months ago, T-Mobile kicked off its LTE rollout in the U.S., and since then hasn’t stopped its expansion. It’s gone from 0 to over 200 million POPs in a ridiculously short time, breaking records set by other U.S. carriers. As part of its 1-year anniversary celebration, Tmo has announced that it will begin repurposing its 2G/EDGE networks and upgrading them to 4G LTE. It also announced that by the beginning of next year, its A-block spectrum – recently acquired from Verizon – will be rolling out.

“Less than one year since launch, T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network already reaches 210 million people in 273 metro areas nationwide. Building on the unprecedented pace of its LTE rollout, T-Mobile is now kicking off a major new program to upgrade its 2G/EDGE network with 4G LTE. The company plans to complete 50 percent of the work this year alone, and expects the program to be substantially complete by the middle of next year. The upgrade will provide customers who currently experience 2G/EDGE coverage new access to 4G LTE, and many already covered by 4G LTE will enjoy access to 4G LTE in even more places. In addition, T-Mobile plans to begin deploying 4G LTE this year in the new 700 MHz A-Block spectrum the company is in the process of acquiring.”

This announcement marks the company’s determination to match its rivals’ LTE coverage for both speed and quality. And – despite the recent RootMetrics reports – T-Mobile clings to the fact that Ookla SpeedTest results show Magenta’s network to be the fastest on average. But perhaps the most impressive plan is that its aim is to get 50% of the EDGE upgrading to LTE done before 2014 is over. As for which areas and markets it’s going to focus on first, we don’t know. Hopefully we’ll get a clearer picture on that soon.

In a short announcement at the end of the release, T-Mobile also claims that it has taken legal action against Verizon for its misleading coverage maps, showing Tmo’s 4G in a bad light.

“T-Mobile has taken legal action demanding that Verizon cease and desist the carrier’s network map advertising, arguing that Verizon has cherry-picked a single network technology to depict in its ads rather than accurately reflecting the many technologies widely in use today. T-Mobile reaches over 230 million people nationwide with 4G HSPA+, which provides 4G coverage in many locations where LTE has not yet been rolled out.  This is in addition to T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE coverage.”

Whether it’ll be successful is yet another story. It’s more likely Verizon will change the wording to make it less “misleading”. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how this situation plays out.

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