T-Mobile US now covers 230 million POPs with its LTE network. The carrier plans to cover 250 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2014, reports Fierce Wireless.
T-Mobile plans to begin deploying LTE this year in 700 MHz A-Block spectrum the company acquired from Verizon for $2.365 billion and AWS spectrum it got from MetroPCS
By contrast, Sprint said last month that its LTE footprint now covers 225 million POPs in 471 markets. The company has said it expects to reach 250 million POPs with LTE by mid-year. Sprint Spark combines 4G FDD-LTE at 800 MHz and 1.9 GHZ and TDD-LTE at 2.5GHz spectrum. It is currently available in 24 cities and Sprint plans to deploy it in about 100 of America’s largest cities by the end of 2016.
AT&T Mobility says the company’s LTE network now covers nearly 290 million POPs in more than 500 marketsacross the country. AT&T bought Leap Wireless (Cricket) for $1.2 billion, largely for their AWS spectrum. Leap’s PCS and AWS spectrum covers approximately 137 million potential customers
Verizon Wireless’ 700 MHz LTE network covers around 306 million POPs. The carrier has also been busy deploying its LTE service on its AWS spectrum to bolster its network capacity. Verizon bought 122 AWS licenses from cable giants for $3.6 billion.
T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray noted in June that T-Mobile is now offering “Wideband LTE,” with 15×15 MHz service, in 16 U.S. markets. Wideband LTE is their term for spectrum deployments of at least 15×15 MHz.
T-Mobile is starting to deploy 4×2 MIMO antenna technology in its LTE network to enhance performance at the cell edge.
Sprint is deploying 8T8R antennas, using 8 transmit and 8 receive antennas, that are expected to boost range and speed some 1.5 times in the 2.6 GHz band. Sprint hopes to make coverage similar to its LTE network on their 1.9 GHz PCS band, which is currently limited to 5×5 MHz bandwidth.
Sprint’s John Saw says the company wants to use Sprint Spark and TDD-LTE for small cell solutions to add capacity in densely populated areas.
Alcatel’s lightRadio combined with Qualcomm’s small cell chips with integrated WiFi are expected to hit the market by mid-2014. TD-LTE relay stations can use one radio, with a different time slot for the backhaul, potentially making small cells smaller and cheaper.