T-Mobile USA and Leap Wireless have agreed to swap AWS spectrum in several markets, reports Fierce Wireless. The agreement will boost LTE capacity for both Leap and T-Mobile. Under the swap, Leap will get 10 MHz of additional AWS spectrum in Phoenix, Houston, Galveston and Bryan-College Station, Texas. T-Mobile will get spectrum in various markets in Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
T-Mobile USA hopes to utilize some of its AWS spectrum (1.7/2.1 GHz) for LTE, and move HSPA onto its PCS band (1.9GHz), as data increases in importance. Leap has launched LTE service in Tucson, Arizona, and has said it will cover 25 million people with LTE by the end of 2012.
T-Mobile plans to launch LTE service in 2013 in 75 percent of the top 25 markets using AWS spectrum that it expects to receive as part of the $6 billion breakup fee from AT&T. T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said the company will install new equipment at 37,000 cell sites and refarm spectrum to launch LTE in 2013.
AT&T Mobility has started unlocking iPhones. T-Mobile said that it currently has more than one million unlocked iPhones on its network and that it will continue to add value for them as it modernizes its network. 9to5Mac says T-Mobile will go after those unlocked iPhones; “Beginning this year, we will introduce HSPA+ service in our 1900 MHz PCS spectrum,” T-Mobile said. “When we do, our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone.” In order to set up an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile’s network, customers need to purchase a microSIM card and select a T-Mobile Value plan that suits their needs.