T-Mobile LTE Plans Going Well, More iPhone Hints Dropped

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-06-15 Print this article Print

T-Mobile says its LTE build-out is making "excellent headway" and when in place will support a "broader range of devices (including the iPhone)." You know, just sayin’.

Surely a T-Mobile iPhone can't be far off.

The nation's fourth-largest carrier€”flush with cash and spectrum, following AT&T's failed effort to acquire it in 2011€”announced June 14 that its $4 billion Long-Term Evolution (LTE) rollout efforts are going swimmingly.

On May 8 it shared that it had signed equipment deals with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, which will provide and install Release 10-capable equipment at 37,000 cell sites across T-Mobile's Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) network.

€œWith contracts in place, we're making excellent headway on our network infrastructure transformation,€ T-Mobile said in a June 14 statement. €œBy the end of this month, we expect new equipment to be installed at our first 400 modernized GSM/HSPA+ sites, and we plan to grow this to over 2,500 sites by the end of July.€

For nearly 20,000 sites, zoning approval is all set, having either been received or not needed, and building permits are in place for more than 4,000 sites.

Oh, and by the way, T-Mo added, it's been having fun dialing up speed at tests sites, like the Moscone West conference center, where Apple happened to be holding a little conference. Maybe you were there with an unlocked iPhone and noticed?

A reader at 9to5Mac did, and a T-Mobile spokesperson told the tech site that while upgrading coverage inside the Moscone Center, T-Mobile did deploy 4G HSPA+ service in the 1,900MHz band to test the network on a small scale€”and T-Mobile does plan to launch the latter in €œa large number of markets by the end of the year, which will make our 4G network compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone€”but the timing and location were €œjust coincidental.€

Expect more of these €œspeed sightings,€ T-Mobile added in its June 14 statement, €œas we work toward introducing 4G HSPA+ service in our 1,900MHz spectrum in a large number of markets later this year.€

Also expected later this year is the Apple iPhone 5€”which T-Mobile has dropped no minimum of hints to suggest that, with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, it will finally be able to offer.

That Apple would introduce its next iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Moscone Center was a long shot, which many hoped but few believed would happen. And indeed, with no new iPhone in sight, the rumor mills remain free to churn. Most recently, AppleInsider discovered a patent Apple filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which has led to speculation that the next iPhone could include the option to remove and upgrade the camera lens.

Should you have a dad who doesn't give a darn about waiting for the new iPhone, T-Mobile is holding a Father's Day promotion Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16. With a qualifying two-year plan, and after a mail-in rebate, it's offering all its 4G phones for free. The deal extends to the HTC One S, the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Nokia Lumia 710. These phones, too, of course, will enjoy all the network upgrades to come.

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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