T-Mobile is making some aggressive moves just in time for its April 12 iPhone launch. In addition to no contracts, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier is steadily executing its $4 billion plan to advance its competitive 4G network and now boasts HD Voice.
T-Mobile is hard at work to improve signal strength and in-building coverage, and is retuning its airwaves to launch 4G service in an additional frequency, 1900 MHz, providing a 4G experience to a broader range of consumer devices, including the iPhone.
T-Mobile just added new metro areas, including Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego and Virginia Beach, Va. These network enhancements now reach 126 million people in 46 metro areas, including major cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. T-Mobile's nationwide 4G network covers 229 metro areas reaching well over 220 million people.
Positioning for LTE Advanced
Weston Henderek, principal analyst at Current Analysis, said T-Mobile's MetroPCS acquisition will help the cause because it offers additional spectrum.
"Now that T-Mobile is actually deploying LTE, the company is on a good path," Henderek told us. "T-Mobile said it is going to be at 200 million POPs [points of presence] covered by the end of the year. That's about two-thirds of the U.S. population and is a pretty good pace."
Of course, Henderek said, Verizon Wireless is going to be almost done with its LTE rollout soon. Based on the timeline T-Mobile has offered, it's going to take the carrier about two years to come close to rivaling what Verizon Wireless already has.
"Nobody else is talking about the next big technology change yet. There's still a lot of work to do in standards bodies. But the step up from LTE is called LTE Advanced," Henderek said. "That capability is an incremental upgrade to LTE and is already built into the upgrade that T-Mobile is doing right now. They will be ready and positioned to easily upgrade to Advanced as soon as that is ready."
Tapping HD Voice
T-Mobile also announced that HD Voice is available on its network nationwide. HD Voice promises to dramatically improve in-call voice quality for customers with capable smartphones. T-Mobile said HD Voice customers will hear a more true-to-life voice quality that's fuller and more natural-sounding, with significantly reduced background noise from street traffic , wind and crowd noise.
In order to tap into that improvement, both parties on the call must use HD Voice capable T-Mobile 4G smartphones, such as the HTC One S, Nokia Astound and Samsung Galaxy S III on T-Mobile's HD Voice-enabled nationwide network. T-Mobile is the first U.S. wireless provider to launch HD Voice nationwide.