All eyes may be on the possible merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, but T-Mobile appears to be keeping its eye on something equally if not more important: improving its network.
As its network data use increased more than six times in the past two years, the carrier has advanced its LTE footprint to 230 million pops. At the same time, it has expanded wideband LTE — 15 megahertz by 15 megahertz — to 16 markets.
The carrier has now rolled out voice over LTE (VoLTE) in 15 markets covering more than 107 million people with the expectation to go nationwide by the end of this year.
“Because our network has been designed for data, we’re now able to nearly double the data that supports voice calls for superior, crystal-clear HD Voice,” said CTO Neville Ray in a blog post. “In fact, we offer the highest-fidelity HD Voice possible — 23.85 Kbps voice codec rate. VoLTE also offers faster call setup times than a non-VoLTE call, and customers are able to access our LTE network during a voice call.”
VoLTE, which debuted in Seattle last month, can now be found in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Long Island, New York; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New Jersey; New York; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
This technology rollout is reportedly being funded by the breakup fee that T-Mobile received after the AT&T merger failed. Observers note that the $2 billion breakup fee that would be paid in the event of a failed Sprint/ T-Mobile merger might pay for the next round of LTE rollouts.