T-Mobile USA said it expects to have 400 sites upgraded with LTE equipment by the end of the month, on its way to having 2,500 cell sites LTE-enabled by the end of July. The move is part of its plans to begin offering commercial LTE services beginning next year.
The update was provided as part of a blog post on the carrier’s website.
T-Mobile USA announced earlier this year plans to spend $4 billion rolling out LTE services across its network. The plans include the deployment of new equipment as well as an extensive overhaul of its current spectrum usage. That overhaul will include migrating its current HSPA+ network from the 1.7/2.1 GHz band it’s currently using to the 1.9 GHz band that currently houses the carrier’s GSM/GPRS/EDGE services. The move will then free up the 1.7/2.1 GHz band for LTE services, which will also align with similar deployments of LTE in the 1.7/2.1 GHz band expected by Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility.
In testing that overhaul, T-Mobile USA said it has activate “some small scale tests” of its HSPA+ service in the 1.9 GHz band at San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center, adding that the move will allow customers with unlocked iPhones compatible with AT&T Mobility’s network to operate across T-Mobile USA’s network. Apple earlier this week held its Worldwide Developers Conference at that location. T-Mobile USA is currently the only nationwide operator to not offer Apple’s iPhone device due to its current spectrum and network position that prevents the smartphone from accessing at least 3G services from its native network.
As part of its current update, T-Mobile USA noted that more than 19,500 of its sites have either received zoning approval or do not need any additional approval for the updates. The carrier had initially said it planned to update 37,000 cell sites in all.
T-Mobile USA announced at this year’s CTIA event in New Orleans that Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson would supply a majority of the equipment for the LTE installation and network upgrade.
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