T-Mobile planning to deploy 28,000 small cells soon

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T-Mobile is always working to build out and improve its service, and today one T-Mo exec detailed another way in which the carrier will densify its network.

Karri Kuoppamaki said that T-Mobile plans to deploy 28,000 small cells “in the short term.” Kuoppamaki, T-Mo’s VP of Technology Development and Strategy, didn’t say anything else about the rollout, but he did go into a bit more detail about T-Mobile’s approach to deploying small cells:

“You can do small cells in so many different ways, and I think we have a little bit of a different approach when it comes to small cells. We found the best way to do that is to partner with fiber providers… that not only build and bring that fiber to you, but also build those small cells for you. And that is a very efficient way to actually get to the point when you go from having a few (small cells) to having tens of thousands in the network.”

In addition to deploying these small cells, T-Mobile is working to build out its 700MHz and 600MHz coverage. T-Mo has said that while its 700MHz Extended Range LTE rollout is largely complete, it does plan to deploy 700MHz coverage “in a few remaining areas” through December.

Meanwhile, 600MHz LTE has been deployed in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Scarborough, Maine. T-Mobile has said that it plans to roll out 600MHz LTE coverage is a handful of other markets in 2017, including West Texas, Eastern Washington, Western North Dakota, and Central Virginia.

Source: FierceWireless

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  • Thomas Keene

    When is the 600 MHz 700 MHz coming to Kentucky?

  • Dylan Wentworth

    In a few remaining areas?!?!
    Virtually the entire state of West Virginia is one big dead zone!

    If you zoom into the coverage map, you can see just how little of the country has voice coverage and there are many areas with coverage but no redundancy so if the site goes down you have nothing.

    5G should go on the back burner until there is a more complete voice and 2g network. Maybe these small cells can help but there’s more than just “a few remaining areas”

    • GreenMonkeyPants

      Ever hear of the “United States National Radio Quiet Zone”?

      • Dylan Wentworth

        When I traveled there this summer I was in different part of the state, well outside the boundary of the USNRQZ. If you look on the TMO coverage map, it does show the USNRQZ as a dead zone but I criss crossed the state on I-77 and I-64/I-79 and those are all shaded “partner area”. Only the partner is out to lunch. I was without signal for pretty much the entire state.

        • kpb321

          I don’t live anywhere near that area but it may have to wait until they can deploy 600mhz. They don’t have the 700mhz everywhere as it isn’t a nation wide block. Here in Oregon US Cellular has 700mhz for most of the rural South West and Eastern Oregon. A quick glance at the spectrum map shows they don’t seem to have much 700mhz coverage in WV.

          http://www.spectrumgateway.com/t-mobile-700a-spectrum

    • (J²)

      T-Mobile has managed with what it has, it needs to continue pushing forward. Looking back will have T-Mobile dead last which will mean the industry will be subject to higher prices and fewer choices.

      That’s why T-Mobile has announced a short term solution rather than revisiting ground zero…

      • Dylan Wentworth

        As a customer, I liked it better when TMO was dead last and clawing to get ahead by expanding its network.

        If I was a shareholder, I’d prefer VZW’s strategy of not expanding the network but still claiming its the best and touting speeds that are unnecessary when and where available.

        I don’t need 100+mbps speeds or even 20mbps.
        What I need is to be able to maintain a constant signal while driving down the highway and preferably when I turn off the highway. I’m not saying TMO is any worse than other carriers and I’ve definitely noticed huge improvements. But I’d rather see them fill in the many empty spaces than spend another minute talking about 5g.

        • (J²)

          The problem is spectrum is a finite resource and in order to deploy a certain technology, a carrier either needs to acquire more spectrum or phase out another technology utilizing existing spectrum. These challenges also vary from market to market.

          T-Mobile is literally doing the best it can with the spectrum it has. They actually are focusing on building out their network but those efforts may not seem like enough to you or I, you truly have to consider that these issues are addressed market by market – not on a national level.

          The timeline for completely rolling out the recently acquired spectrum from TV broadcasters, is still a few years away. It doesn’t matter what T-Mobile’s plan is, they have limited spectrum to execute. In 2019/2020, would you rather more 4G or the roll out of 5G? Remember, change of focus doesn’t mean things will change any faster.

        • marque2

          5G isn’t just about speed, it is also about filling those spaces. There is no point in filling the gaps with old technology.

        • Dylan Wentworth

          Well I’m certainly for filling in the spaces. I don’t care if it’s 5g or 3g, just fill them!

        • Stephan Tchorbajian

          I think speeds over LTE that are within the range of 20-30 mbps are reasonable. Any slower and there’s no point to LTE as I was getting up to 25 mbps on T-Mobile’s older HSPA+ network.

        • Dylan Wentworth

          My home internet is 10 mbps.
          Ten.
          one-zero.
          That’s it.
          It’s not a problem for anything that I do in my single person household including streaming full HD video. For a cellphone, especially on a network that has convinced everyone to switch to SD video, even 20 is way overkill.

          I live right near a TMO site in an uncongested area and speeds of 100-125 mbps are typical but for what I do on a phone, it makes no difference what the speed is. 3 mbps “DSL speeds” would be sufficient. What does make a big difference is having a signal or not having a signal and not having to rely on sat phones and ham radio to stay in contact when you travel a couple miles away from the interstate.

        • Stephan Tchorbajian

          I don’t know, I agree and disagree. The basic definition of broadband is 25 mbps or more. I perfectly agree that 3-5 mbps/second is usable. However, if these companies tout so called 4th or 5th gen networks and offer those speeds we’re getting ripped off. Then might as well use slower internet and pay less. I just don’t see it as in this country broadband especially in the interior is sh***. You get spoiled when you live in the Northeast.

        • Dylan Wentworth

          Well come on, man! They gotta have some reason to charge more for something you can’t really use.

      • Stephan Tchorbajian

        The only thing that suck’s about T-Mobile is their billing dept. It took me 5-10 attempts for them to finally correct my bill. They made good on their promises so I have to rate them highly for their customer service etiquette. If they continue on this trajectory I will definitely continue to be a fan and a paid customer.

  • Stephan Tchorbajian

    I don’t think T-Mobiles service capacity can satisfy every customer. I simply tell people who get no cell coverage where they are to switch to a carrier who does. However, in lieu of all this backlash I think in general T-Mobile is a solid contender. They offer decent plans, a fair price, some awesome features such as: 1) Jump; 2) T-Mobile 55; 3) Wifi Calling; 4) T-Mobile Tuesdays; 5) Digits; 6) HD voice. They have also substantially upgraded their network to the point where I honestly think they’re close to AT&T with another 300,000 sq/miles of coverage to close before they match big blues LTE map.

    However, with growth does come network congestion in densely populated areas. I personally work in midtown Manhattan and for the past 3 months I either can’t make a call or I’m getting 2-500 kbps down; that’s pretty bad, and effects me to the point where I can’t place a 911 call if necessary or even watch basic Youtube. I think T-Mobile has to start this network density plan immediately otherwise their coverage will be sh***. They need to immediately deploy small cells in the following cities to make a difference and I mean immediately:

    1) NYC – 8.5 million
    2) Chicago – 2.7 million
    3) Houston – 2.3 million
    4) Dallas – 1.3 million
    5) Seattle – 704k
    6) San Francisco – 864k
    7) Los Angeles – 3.9 million
    8) Boston – 600k
    9) Philadelphia – 1.5 million
    10) Pittsburgh – 300k
    11) San Jose – 1 million
    12) Miami – 453k
    13) Tampa – 377k
    14) Washington, D.C. – 681k
    15) Las Vegas – 632k
    16) Detroit – 672k
    17) Sacramento – 500k
    18) Portland – 639k
    19) Charlotte – 842k
    20) Kansas City – 481k
    21) Atlanta Georgia – 472k

    This small sliver of a list only covers 28,000,000.00 (rough estimate) but 28 million very important people who would subscribe to T-Mobile or already do.

    Any city of a population of 300,000 or more needs immediate exposure to this otherwise they’ll migrate. I have to get out of NYC about 25 miles to have usable coverage and that’s just f***ing weird if you ask me as NYC is in the heart of everything; I’m sorry but that’s a fact.

    • slybacon

      The 4 days I spent in New York City a year ago, I had good speeds everywhere but the subway and out to the Statue of Liberty. And that’s a fact.

      • Stephan Tchorbajian

        Whats up. Well, you were in NYC one year ago. However, I have evidence on one of my many Ookla Speedtests in midtown NYC. AND THAT’S A FACT. I recieved .70 mbps down and 7.65 up, in NY NY :) Once again, THATS A FACT :)

        • slybacon

          What’s up???

        • Stephan Tchorbajian

          What’s going on Bacon man?

      • Stephan Tchorbajian

        Most people don’t get coverage in the “subway” and that’s a fact :)

        • slybacon

          I love that you are making fun of yourself and your “that’s a fact” statement. You are making my day ;)

        • Stephan Tchorbajian

          Sly So are you Bacon boy. I’m just wondering are you Turkey or Pig bacon? I’m leaning toward the latter as you’re dripping of grease. You stated “As a Fact” so for the fun of it; well it continued. I think you started it :) Maybe this will turn into a flame war but who cares, or we’ll end up writing to each other in 200 threads lol. Bring the heat on Bacon lover :) – Oh yeah! And that’s definitely a f***ing fact. Lol.

        • slybacon

          The last three words of your original post were “that’s a fact.” Check the facts before you make up alternative facts. You’re killin’ me Smalls!

        • Stephan Tchorbajian

          Sorry “buddy” but I have factual speedtests Mr. Bacon, and that’s definitely a fact lol.

        • slybacon

          Wow. New Yorkers are weird.

      • marque2

        They should put a tower in her crown :P

        • slybacon

          They wouldn’t need a “tower” if they put antennas in her crown ;)

    • vinnyjr

      Was just in Manhattan, I had speeds over 60mb down & 25mb up. Some areas even much faster. Live in Boston & get 100+mb down & 30+ up. I couldn’t be happier.

      • Stephan Tchorbajian

        What kind of phone are you on?

        • riverhorse

          Hi Stephan. I hope you’re not on a ZTE… of all phones I have it’s the only with those symptoms… a veritable bug trap.
          I go all over the 5 boros… zero issues, EXCEPT for building penetration SOMETIMES way inside big buildings. But nothing that tempts switching carrier.

          PS I can’t wait for 600 to get here. There are parts of Virginia I can’t get a signal, not even roaming, so it’s great to hear it’s being deployed there.

        • Stephan Tchorbajian

          Riverhorse. Hey Man. Whats going on? You’re ZTE is not working well? I’m sorry. I’ve been tempted to pick one up as a cheap spare. Right now I’m on an LG G5 which isn’t the most popular, but LG phones tend to have flagship specs and get a massive price cut later. I only picked mine up for $200/w all taxes and fees from T-Mobile so the modem inside probably is CAT4 and only supports 400-500 mbps with full speeds once 4.5G LTE 1 Gbps is deployed being in the 100-150 mbps range. The phone works well. I think T-Mobile’s speeds are decent except in the midtown area surrounding Penn Station within a radius of 5-10 blocks, as this area is quite congested. I also do experience problems with building penetration as at the gym it showed 5 bars of service but I couldn’t even make a call.

          P.S. I think the addition of 600 Mhz spectrum deployment along with small cells will be awesome. Too bad we’re going to have to buy new phones and this is something I’m not going to cater to for at least another 2-3 years. Paying full price in the amount of $500-1,000 every 1-2 years is crazy. I never pay more than $300.00 max. I hear about West Virginia having big coverage holes. And if this continues and isn’t filled in is just plain dump; hope it gets done soon.

      • Stephan Tchorbajian

        One more thing. Speedtests with sporadic bursts of 50+ mbps aren’t a good barometer of network capacity. I look for consistency. T-Mobile should have consistent speeds of at least 5-10 mbps across the board standard. We’re in 2017 and I believe that’s the bare minimum for decent Internet.

    • Brian the populist.

      I have an iPhone 5s with T-Mobile and I work in Chelsea and my service is just fine with T-Mobile so I don’t know maybe you need to reset your network settings or something because it just sounds really weird what you’re saying in and T-Mobile has already densified their network and or is close to completing their densification at least for New York City

      • Stephan Tchorbajian

        Brian, whats going on. I love the 5s and think it’s an awesome phone, and definitely four years later still holds up extremely well due to it’s 64-bit A7 CPU. In fact we have a 5s and 1st gen iPad Air that are beautiful machines in my house. Now let me respond to your post. Chelsea is not midtown. My phone provides great speeds and service in other parts of Manhattan as long as it isn’t midtown :) Go to Penn Station in the morning, stand outside and do a Speedtest or run Youtube; you’ll notice it buffers. I don’t have to recheck my settings as I already have and notice speeds of 15-35 mbps outside of midtown; when I indicate slow speeds I’m talking about a ten block radius outside of Penn Station that extends to Times Square that is probably one of the most important parts of NYC to cover. And as to T-Mobile being close to completing densification in NYC, where are the plans for a deadline or phases in NYC by Neville Ray, and if T-Mobile is done then why are they going to deploy 28,000 small cells as this article indicates? Thanks :)

    • Elias James

      great points, here is some advice, dial 611 from any tmobile phone OTHER THAN YOUR OWN (or just call customer service from a different device…. request a “CHANGE LOCATION” on your line (your phone number) Itll literally bump your phone off the current tower and reestablish a new connection to the best one near you and refresh your setting and power cycle your device

  • james

    Missouri please

  • superg05

    you can put one in my back yard cheap rent i promise lol seriously though you can :I

    • coakl

      That would be a crazy Un-Carrier move.
      Legere announces: “If you want to host a small tower in your backyard, send me your address and written approval from your spouse (ha, ha).

      If your city council approves the permit and your neighbors don’t sue, you will get free T-Mo for life, true unlimited LTE data worldwide, no de-prioritize cap, free new phone and tablet every year (any model), free LTE broadband hotspot for your home also with unlimited data.”

  • mikeZo6

    Tmo can’t handle all these customer ! never in a million years they thought this would happen ! their NETWORK IS OVERLOADED ! and theirs nothing they can do about it.

    • Stephan Tchorbajian

      Dude, it’s okay as every network is overloaded. At least we aren’t on Sprint or Verizon. I haven’t notice any substantial improvements with Verizon at least with speeds or coverage. However, my experiences reside in the Northeast and not rural areas like Montana, or Wyoming. However, I think T-Mobile’s is working as fast as possible to rectify their issues.

    • Sharti24

      And to think att and verizon have double the customers

  • The more bands your phone connects too will increase your overall wireless experience TMO 2/4/12/66/71

  • Stephan Tchorbajian

    T-Mobile has one thing going for them and that is one of the best network engineering departments in the industry. Obviously their plans are two-fold. Initiate and expand availability of wideband 600 Mhz spectrum in rural markets to provide a decent mix of coverage and speed and densify their already excellent network in urban areas to maintain capacity. One possible solution for them might be to buy some of Sprint’s high band spectrum once Sprint goes bankrupt :) I can’t wait. I think I’ll end up upgrading my phone in the next two years once their network build out is substantially complete to match Verizon to some new handset as for now it isn’t totally worth it.

  • Sharti24

    Tmobile needs blanket coverage via 600mhz. Match verizons coverage to be on their level.

    Coverage is more important than speed. Remember, Verizon and Att have double the customers than Tmobile. If tmobile had 140 million customers there’s no way their network would be as fast as it currently is

  • Clifton K. Morris

    Sounds to me like the “Fiber Providers” have a lot of excess capacity and maybe even a workforce of people that probably need to be laid off.

    I’ve never heard of a company having an idle workforce able to install 28,000 pieces of equipment.

    I’m willing to wager a small amount that CenturyLink is to blame; their stock has suffered quite a lot since merging with a fiber company with a reputation in the industry of being a company no one should work with unless there are no other options. Added to this, CenturyLink has appointed its new CEO from this un-regulated fiber company, with headquarters office surrounded by a golf course. Great office location if you can get it. Next, he lacks experience managing a union workforce, experience in the regulated telecoms sector, or know how to save a company’s vibrant yellow-pages business. Jeff Storey also had a stroke last year and people are still surprised he hasn’t answered calls to retire before he’s in a casket.

    Also, let’s face facts- if there really exists this much excess fiber capacity available on a wholesale basis, and fiber providers really have this much free time, then American customers are getting screwed by the FCC’s decisions about Net Neutrality.