This was the most dynamic year that T-Mobile has had in a long time, Jim Alling, T-Mobile COO, told the UBS 41st Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, Dec. 11, in New York City.
T-Mobile now covers 203 million pops with LTE, which is an immense change from the start of the year when it could not even be measured.
“We moved from not having a presence in 4G LTE to nationwide coverage by the end of the third quarter,” Alling said. “That was well ahead of our plans. We did not think we could achieve that until the end of this year. We are continuing to build upon that footprint.”
A lot of work was done in 2012 on the quality of T-Mobile’s backhaul, which allowed T-Mobile to move more rapidly with its LTE build out.
“We put ourselves in the position to take advantage of some of the spectrum that we have picked up, as well as pair up the contiguous spectrum that MetroPCS brought to the party,” Alling said.
As 2013 comes to a close, T-Mobile will be operating on 10 megahertz by 10 megahertz spectrum blocks in more than 40 major markets, including New York and Los Angeles. Additionally, more than 250 metro areas will be operational with T-Mobile’s LTE equipment at yearend.
On top of that, T-Mobile has launched 20 megahertz by 20 megahertz LTE on more than 100 sites in North Dallas, portending the roll out of more systems in 2014.
“Customers in this area are seeing fantastic performance, and all LTE devices in customers’ hands today can benefit as we continue to expand 20 megahertz by 20 megahertz LTE,” Alling said. “It’s not like we have covered the market, but where we do have it, we are seeing download speeds of 150 Mbps and uplink speeds of 47 Mbps.”
T-Mobile will be rolling out 20 megahertz by 20 megahertz in 2014, but it must first refarm some of its existing spectrum and some frequencies that it obtained in the MetroPCS deal. Alling expects the carrier to complete the 20 megahertz by 20 megahertz deployment in 2015.