T-Mobile USA confirmed to The Verge it will launch its first LTE markets by the end of March. Starting today, T-Mobile customers with a Samsung Galaxy Note II will also receive an over-the-air (OTA) software update that will allow users to experience 4G LTE speeds in areas where T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network is available. T-Mobile USA is planning a March 26 event where it is expected to detail further changes to both its technology and business.
The carrier plans to cover 100 million POPs with LTE by mid-2013 and 200 million by year-end, according to Fierce Wireless. T-Mobile’s LTE networks in Las Vegas and Kansas City, Mo., has already been completed. T-Mobile has said that using the AWS spectrum (1.7/2.1 GHz) will enable 2X20 MHz spectrum channels in 90 percent of the top 25 U.S. markets.
Currently, T-Mobile mostly uses PCS (1.9 GHz) for voice and AWS (1.7/2.1 GHz) for HSPA data. Now it’s moving HSPA to the PCS band. For some 2 million iPhone owners (which don’t work on the AWS band), that’s good news. The carrier has been installing HSPA+ 21 on 1900 Mhz around the country. That allows unlocked phones that use UMTS on the PCS band to utilize HSPA.
PC Magazine has a list of T-Mobile’s 49 cities where T-Mobile currently has HSPA+ 21 on UMTS 1900. That allows iPhones to work in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and other cities. T-Mobile’s primary HSPA+ 42 network uses the AWS band so it doesn’t run on iPhone. That’s where the LTE service will be located, too.
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said the carrier would have 170 million POPs covered with HSPA+ on 1900 MHz by mid-2013 and 200 million covered by the end of 2013, notes FierceWireless.