Throughout this year we have seen T-Mobile roll out their Challenger Strategy – a mission to modernize their network after the failed AT&T merger and rise up as a powerful national carrier. The strategy included tower upgrades and spectrum refarming in an effort to get ready for an LTE rollout in 2013.
T-Mobile’s network modernization strategy involved maintenance on towers to create a fiber optic connection from the ground to the top of their exiting towers for increased bandwidth and reduced latency and replacing amplifiers with tower-top electronics. The new amplifiers will also allow T-Mobile to launch LTE Advanced. T-Mobile promised better in-building penetration and enhanced data speeds due to this modernization.
T-Mobile is also working on refarming spectrum to make room for an LTE rollout on their 1700MHz bands. The company has historically used 1700MHz to deploy HSPA+ (their “4G” network), and are now deploying HSPA on 1900MHz, hoping to make room on 1900MHz for LTE. This refarming process will also allow devices such as the iPhone, the HTC One X, and many others equipped with an HSPA radio on 1900MHz (the international norm) to access T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network.
As 2012 comes to an end, T-Mobile has announced that their network modernization is fully live in thirty-seven markets, which cover over 100 million people.