T-Mobile Gears Up for LTE

Posted by Sam Churchill on

T-Mobile USA announced 2nd quarter results this week. It reported net customer losses of 205,000, which are more than the 50,000 lost in the same period last year. Offsetting that, the carrier posted 227,000 prepaid customer additions in the second quarter, which was a stronger result than the 71,000 prepaid net customer losses a year ago.

Parent Deutsche Telekom reported a net profit of EUR614 million, up 76.4 percent from EUR348 million, on revenue of EUR14.38 billion, down 0.7 percent from EUR14.48 billion.

“We are observing a slowdown in customer growth across the U.S. market overall,” Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann told reporters, reports Reuters.

T-Mobile plans on using its 1700 MHz AWS spectrum for LTE while it refarms its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum for HSPA+ service. That also plays well for the iPhone, which supports LTE on the PCS band, but not (yet) on the AWS band. T-Mobile got AWS spectrum from AT&T after the failed merger, and is likely to add more AWS spectrum from Verizon, if (and when) Verizon’s purchase of AWS spectrum from cable operators goes through.

T-Mobile’s $4 billion 4G network evolution plan will expand voice and data coverage around the country and launch LTE service in 2013.

In the second quarter of 2012, T-Mobile USA announced an agreement with Verizon Wireless for the purchase and exchange of AWS spectrum licenses (subject to regulatory approval), to improve T-Mobile’s network coverage in 15 of the top 25 markets in the U.S.

It also completed the AT&T deal break-up AWS license transfers that will expand T-Mobile’s coverage in 12 of the top 20 U.S. markets; and announced a spectrum exchange agreement with Leap Wireless International, that will further 4G coverage in four states.

T-Mobile USA announced multi-year agreements with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy LTE-Advanced equipment at 37,000 cell sites in 2012 and 2013. T-Mobile said it expects to be the first carrier in North America to deploy antenna integrated radios, which it said will speed up its rollout and reduce the load it puts on cell sites.

Nokia’s Flexi Multiradio Antenna System (known as Liquid Radio), combine antennas and radio in one enclosure, with dedicated power amplifiers for each antenna element.

Nokia will provide its Single RAN Advanced platform for the LTE deployment, based on its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station. Nokia says their Flexi BTS is the only macro basestation that can build outdoor sites without a dedicated cabinet.

It’s Nokia’s answer to Lucent’s LightRadio. Meanwhile, Huawei’s countdown clock for integrated microcells may be set to go off for MWC 2013.

T-Mobile USA’s CTO, Neville Ray explains their Evolving Mobile Ecosystem (pdf)

This summer T-Mobile began testing LTE Advanced gear (also called LTE Release-10). Release 10 supports carrier aggregation, combining separate spectrum bands into a single service. It also supports up to 40 MHz channels and up to 8×8 MIMO antennas. T-Mobile says it will have sufficient spectrum to roll out LTE with 20MHz to about 75% of the top 25 markets in 2013. Most remaining markets will have 10MHz. Verizon’s spectrum should sweeten the deal.

Currently, T-Mobile offers an HSPA+42 network covering 184 million POPs in 185 markets, and its HSPA+21 network covers around 220 million POPs. The breakup fee includes $3 billion in cash, as well as a seven-year UMTS roaming agreements that will allow T-Mobile to expand its coverage to 280 million POPs.

Sprint will deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Metro Cells to augment coverage in high-traffic areas.

The Alcatel-Lucent 9768 Metrocell (left) integrates two lightRadio cubes and a full-sector remote radio head into a single compact unit. Sprint is deploying LTE on its 1900MHz spectrum this year and will start deploying LTE on its 800MHz spectrum in 2014.

Sprint may also use Clear’s TD-LTE-A service (at 2.6 GHz), which is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2013, for additional spectrum in high density urban cores.

Samsung will help Sprint develop their Small Cell Network Infrastructure. Samsung’s small cells will allow Sprint to consolidate multiple legacy networks and spectrum bands in a single platform,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile.

Terms weren’t disclosed for the two small cell supply agreements with Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung.

Dish Networks would like to partner with a wireless carrier to help it build out its LTE-A network. Imagine what T-Mobile (or Sprint) could do with another 40 MHz at 2.1GHz and microcells on lightpoles. They could blow AT&T and Verizon away is what they could do.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 8:03 am .

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