T-Mobile USA today unveils its plan for future LTE deployment. The most significant investment is a $4 billion network modernization and 4G evolution effort, which will improve existing voice and data coverage and pave the way for long term evolution (LTE) service in 2013. Here are the details:
T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray detailed the company's network strategy, which includes installing new equipment at 37,000 cell sites and refarming spectrum to launch LTE in 2013.1 The key catalyst of refarming is the additional spectrum T-Mobile will receive as a result of the termination of the AT&T transaction.
T-Mobile will invest a total of $4 billion over time into network modernization and LTE deployment. Over the next two years, this represents approximately $1.4 billion in incremental network investment. T-Mobile expects to reach broad deployment of LTE, with service in the vast majority of the top 50 markets and 20 MHz service in 75 percent of the top 25 markets.
More than 90 percent of T-Mobile device sales in the fourth quarter were 3G and 4G smartphones. As data usage and smartphone adoption accelerate, fewer customers are utilizing 2G services. This enables T-Mobile to refarm existing spectrum holdings, reducing the amount of 1900 MHz PCS spectrum being used for GSM; to deploy HSPA+ 4G services in the PCS band; and to make room in the AWS band for LTE. In addition to creating capacity for LTE in AWS spectrum, deploying HSPA+ in the PCS band will harmonize T-Mobile's spectrum bands with the U.S. market and international carriers. As the company refarms spectrum, T-Mobile will continue to support its 2G customers.