T-Mobile US today said it will upgrade its 2G EDGE network to LTE almost completely by the middle of 2015. T-Mobile’s LTE network, now one year into its rollout, currently covers 210 million people in 273 metro areas. T-Mobile said its HSPA+ network now covers 230 million POPs. Mosaik has coverage maps of the 4 big carriers (below).
“Our 4G LTE is going to reach 230 million people across the U.S. by mid-year. By year’s end, we’re going to be delivering wicked-fast 4G LTE to more than 250 million people. That’s how the Un-carrier rolls out 4G LTE,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile.
Approximately 90% of T-Mobile’s network traffic is on their 3G (PCS) and 4G (AWS) bands. Their PCS band at 1900 is now underused with voice and HSPA+. They are re-farming the excess 1900 MHz spectrum to LTE. T-Mobile moved much of their HSPA traffic from the AWS band to their PCS band in order to make room for LTE services on the AWS band.
T-Mobile said it plans to complete 50 percent of the work on its 2G/EDGE network upgrade this year, and expects the program to be substantially complete by the middle of next year.
T-Mobile also plans to begin deploying LTE this year in the 700 MHz A Block spectrum the company is buying from Verizon.
T-Mobile says that will give them coverage in 9 of the top 10 and 21 of the top 30 US markets. Then T-Mobile’s LTE service will be available across three bands: 700 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz AWS.
The market share of the Big Four is about 93 percent. Any deal between Sprint and T-Mobile would face an uphill battle with regulators, since it reduces the big four to the big three.
The dynamic maps at Mosaik Solutions show coverage growing for LTE since the first commercial services came online at the end of 2010. Conversely, they show WiMAX coverage growing, then shrinking.