As LTE service becomes more prominent throughout the United States, T-Mobile has been spreading LTE to new markets around the nation. But even as it has done that, it has faced a continuing problem: Its speed has continuously been sub-par to AT&T and Verizon.
In an attempt to boost speeds, T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS and is now using the carrier's spectrum to make its own LTE connections faster. The improved LTE service is rolling out in Dallas to begin with and is expected to reach other markets in 2014.
A Faster Connection
The service, which combines the spectrums of T-Mobile and MetroPCS, is called 20-by-20 and will double the carrier's current 20 MHz spectrum to offer more competitive speeds. Since the speed improvements will play off T-Mobile's current LTE service, users will not have to change their actual smartphone hardware to receive the benefits of a faster connection.
Although T-Mobile does not want to make promises regarding how fast the service will be or when its millions of customers will receive it, some technology publications are reporting that the enhanced LTE connections will provide speeds around 13.25 MB/s down and 3.6 MB/s up.
A similar program meant to increase T-Mobile's LTE speeds will be rolling out even sooner than the one in conjunction with MetroPCS. This program, entitled 10-by-10, will begin to reach some of T-Mobile's markets before the end of the year, whereas the faster speeds coming as a result of the MetroPCS acquisition will only be seen starting in 2014.
Better than Its Competitors
In announcing the rollout of the faster LTE connections, T-Mobile Vice President Grant Castle said the 20-by-20 program is superior to what competitors are doing. In particular, 20-by-20 appears to be a more efficient way to increase speeds than Verizon's network improvements. Verizon Wireless is building up its AWS-based network to boost speeds, but those connections are only accessible to a handful of smartphones.
T-Mobile has been working on integrating the MetroPCS spectrum for some time and has also implemented other programs to boost LTE speeds. Some of T-Mobile's larger markets have already seen speed improvements, as the carrier has cannibalized its 2G and 3G networks to use them for LTE connections.
LTE is becoming popular around the world and in some areas, mobile data connection speeds are nearly as fast as home Internet speeds are in the United States. As smartphones become more prominent among U.S. adults, the demand for faster connections has been growing, resulting in Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all having to focus on enhancing their LTE services.
Customers in the Northern Dallas area will slowly begin to notice the faster connection speeds but a full rollout of the MetroPCS spectrum integration is not expected to take place until early 2014. Not only will 2014 be a big year for T-Mobile's LTE service, but its competitors will also begin to shine through by offering faster data speeds to a growing number of customers.