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T-Mobile Announces LTE Network 75

Posted by timothy
from the fertig-oder-nicht dept.
MrSeb writes "In a beautiful twist of fate, T-Mobile USA has announced that it will be launching an LTE network in 2013 using the money and AWS spectrum that it obtained from AT&T after its failed acquisition. According to T-Mobile, this upgrade comprises of a three-phase process: free up 2G spectrum, move HSPA+ to formerly 2G spectrum, and deploy LTE on formerly HSPA+ spectrum. The end result will be a much faster network that can compete with AT&T and Verizon, and download speeds of up to 74Mbps in 75% of the top 25 markets in the US. International visitors should enjoy better roaming thanks to the deployment of PCS HSPA+, too — and finally, an AT&T LTE iPhone would also work on T-Mobile's upcoming network."
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T-Mobile Announces LTE Network

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  • by Jack Malmostoso (899729) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @11:31AM (#39158363)

    I will visit the US this summer from Europe. Can anyone point me to a link where I can get some maps/explanations about roaming in the US?
    I am horrendously confused about the US market and their current standards.
    I will come with a N9 and an iPhone so I should be fine, but I'd like to be sure ahead of the time.

    • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @11:44AM (#39158415)

      There is barely any 'roaming' in the U.S. You might get some plans that will give you free calling to other people on the same network, but unless you send all the people you interact with while there a survey indicating what network they're on and basing your decision on that... well.

      You're coming from Europe with an N9 and an iPhone that, presumably, take SIM cards and run on the GSM networks. This is what limits you mostly - to AT&T and T-Mobile - if you want to stick to those phones and want to pick up a local SIM card. And yes, you'd want to pick up a local SIM card unless your European cell company doesn't gouge customers for actual roaming costs from using your European SIM in the U.S.

      The reason I mention "if you want to stick to those phones" is because you have a much greater choice if you just pick up a plan+phone, or prepaid phone, from any provider you please, and use it to make actual calls - keeping your N9/iPhone around for chatting, internetting, etc. on e.g. WiFi networks (your hotel / place you stay, starbucks, mcdonald's, book stores, whatever).
      You can then keep that phone and just bring it with you every time you visit the U.S. (note that prepaid options expire after a while (at least at AT&T) unless you top it off, so if you visit again in a year, you might have to pick up a new prepaid SIM/plan and deal with having to send people new U.S. numbers each time).

      If you do pick up an AT&T Go Phone or SIM, please note that topping up is best done at an AT&T store location. The reason for this is that, as recently as January, their web interface does not accept non-American Credit Cards and their call-in service puts you first through a speaking menu, then a 'press # to...' menu, then finally decides to also not accept your credit card, puts you on hold for a queue to an actual person, and by the time you get through to them, will be out of the credits that were left (yes, calling the top-up service costs you credit.) Maybe they fixed that, maybe mashing buttons to get through to a person asap works as well, but in my opinion.. just go to one of the stores, much less hassle and they can help you out better with options in case your usage indicates a better plan, too.

      That's my personal experience - a simple search query will yield many sites that give advice to travelers, though.

      • Thank you, I would mod you up if I could :)
        I might get a SIM card from T-Mobile and invest 10$ just to be reachable for free.
        Ans yes, our phones are GSM with SIM cards.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You are coming with what is possibly the best phone to have for international roaming N9 with pentaband. That'll work on both AT&T and T-mo with 3G. No point buying a phone + plan here. T-mo has some pretty good prepaid plans http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans. If you are coming for just a couple weeks you could also go with the $2 or $3 per day plans. That's probably going to be the cheapest option. If you don't need data then you can also just use the pay as you go plans.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Second this -- the N9 + T-mobile's $3/day gets you everything you can expect, unless you plan on heavy downloading (your first 200MB/day is unthrottled HSPA, after that it's throttled to EDGE speeds). You could also look into MVNOs to find one using GSM (either AT&T's or T-mobile's network, but the N9 doesn't care), and might get a better rate, particularly if you expect to be here a month or more.

      • by rwa2 (4391) *

        If you could somehow set yourself up with data access, something like Google Voice or maybe Skype might work well. Then you just have one number to give out to people to reach you that you could set up to ring whatever temporary number(s) you have set up at the time. That way you only have one voicemail to check as well, esp. if you forward all your temporary vm accounts to this service as well.

      • The reason I mention "if you want to stick to those phones" is because you have a much greater choice if you just pick up a plan+phone, or prepaid phone, from any provider you please, and use it to make actual calls - keeping your N9/iPhone around for chatting, internetting, etc. on e.g. WiFi networks (your hotel / place you stay, starbucks, mcdonald's, book stores, whatever).

        It surprises me that more domestic US users don't do the same thing. It's to the point that you can get second hand Android phones on eBay and elsewhere for $100-$200. (They sometimes have a "bad ESN" meaning the carrier won't activate it for some reason, e.g. the user filed an insurance claim thinking the phone was broken but then someone either realized it wasn't or fixed it and resold it, or because the carriers are just jackasses who refuse to activate used phones etc. But if you're only going to use it

        • pick up a plan+phone, or prepaid phone, from any provider you please, and use it to make actual calls - keeping your N9/iPhone around for chatting, internetting, etc. on e.g. WiFi networks

          It surprises me that more domestic US users don't do the same thing.

          Probably because they don't want to carry two devices and keep them both charged. Some men have a fear of carrying a bag on grounds that it might threaten their sense of heterosexuality. That's why they'll, say, hack their DS instead of buying a used Android phone to play homebrew on.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by yincrash (854885)
      Your N9 and iPhone will get 3G reception from AT&T only. You can get 2G reception from T-Mobile (until this plan rolls out, then you can get 3G).

      Verizon and Sprint are not compatible with your phones.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by characterZer0 (138196)

        If you will primarily be in urban areas, AT&T and T-Mobile will be fine.

        If you want to get coverage in rural areas, Verizon might be your best bet. AT&T is getting better, but I frequent areas of rural New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia where Verizon is the only option. By "rural" I mean small towns of 1500 people and farmland, not the wilderness.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's according to where you're at. I live in very rural southern Indiana (1/2mi from my nearest neighbor and a county population of 20k) and AT&T is the only service I can get, plus it's 3G. I have to walk to the end of my driveway to get a couple bars on Verizon and it's not 3G. Service is solid and I rarely have a dropped call.

          That said, when I lived in LA and SF, AT&T sucked.

        • by segin (883667)
          But Verizon is CDMA2000, and thus doesn't work with his phone. (Not that they work with their own phones as it is.)
          • by k_187 (61692)
            Yes, but he could get a verizon burner for what the SIM would cost on AT&T. not a perfect solution, but better than no signal.
      • by segin (883667)
        The N9 has UMTS-AWS support. Nice try, though.
      • The Nokia N9 works on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network as it is, and as it will be (the Nokia N9 has a pentaband HSPA+ radio). The iPhone will only work on T-Mobile's 2G network for now, though.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Nokia N9 is pentaband supporting the 1700 Mhz used by Tmobile so you should get HSPA speeds with it. Iphone will be limited to EDGE.

    • by Mousit (646085)
      Going along with QuasiSteve's message, I too recommend a local pre-paid local cellular service when traveling to America. Price gouging on roaming can get extreme, on both sides of the pond (American cell companies screw us on roaming in Europe too). And indeed, I'd also recommend buying a local phone with it if you don't mind having a third phone on you.

      I've often suggested TracFone to my various European friends when they visit. It's a GSM reseller that sits on top of AT&T's network, so you get w
    • Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yer?
      See the løveli lakes
      The wonderful telephøne system
      And mani interesting furry animals

    • First off I should explain my perspective: I am a T-Mobile customer. I don't buy data service for my N900 as I live and work too far from urban areas to get data coverage. When I want data service while traveling, what works best for me is to bring my laptop to a McDonald's or a Coffee shop that has free wifi, buy an overpriced beverage, and camp at a table for a while.

      There are currently primarily two separate voice hardware specifications used in USA, CDMA2000 and GSM. I don't know of any phones th
    • by Algan (20532)

      I suggest you buy a local SIM, otherwise roaming charges will kill you. Think $1-2 per minute, or more, depending on your home carrier.
      You will have to choose between AT&T or T-Mobile, they are the two (main) GSM providers. Both offer nationwide prepaid plans. Your N9 will work on both networks in 3G mode, your iphone will work on both networks in EDGE mode and on AT&T in 3G mode. In urban areas they're probably similar, but AT&T has significantly better coverage in rural areas. You can check th

    • by mhbtr (612436)

      I will visit the US this summer from Europe. Can anyone point me to a link where I can get some maps/explanations about roaming in the US? I am horrendously confused about the US market and their current standards. I will come with a N9 and an iPhone so I should be fine, but I'd like to be sure ahead of the time.

      Get H2O Wireless (www.h2owirelessnow.com), Jolt (www.joltmobile.com) or Fuzion (www.fuzionmobile.com). All these are MVNOs that operate on AT&T's spectrums (so you will get 3g) and offer competitive (read as "cheaper than AT&T") pay as you go plans. Of course you will need an unlocked phone, but these are all better options than AT&T and T-Mobile for short term subscriptions.

  • by mspohr (589790) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:02PM (#39158499)

    I didn't think iphone offered LTE or 4G. Maybe someday?

    • by Andrio (2580551) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:28PM (#39158625)
      T-Mobile needs to get ready for when Apple invents 4G, like the other carriers are doing.
    • by Chuckstar (799005)

      iPhone is not LTE, but it is compatible with what AT&T is calling just plain 4G.

      I don't know the right terms for the underlying technologies, but AT&T refers to "4G" as 4x the speed of 3G and "4GLTE" as 12x the speed of 3G.

      • by mspohr (589790)

        ATT 4G is not real 4G but kind of 3G "plus" and isn't even available in a lot of locations. Many users seem to be finding disappointing performance on the iPhone.
        I think this is just ATT marketing hype...

    • An LTE iPhone will probably become available this summer.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:23PM (#39158587) Homepage

    "75% of the top 25 markets" sounds like they mean there will be almost no coverage. A "market" could just mean a city, say the city centre. Assuming one enabled mast that could work out as about 18 square miles for the entire country.

    Presumably their plans are a bit grander than that, but it still sounds like they are saying their network has terrible coverage and won't be getting any better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Presumably their plans are a bit grander than that, but it still sounds like they are saying their network has terrible coverage and won't be getting any better.

      Yes, but it will be FASTER terrible converage!

      • by PReDiToR (687141) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @01:46PM (#39159231) Homepage Journal
        What use is 74Mbit/sec data if you're unable to download more than 500MB/month?
        Might as well stick to ISDN speeds and seem like you're downloading all day every day.
        Only when you're in a City though, nobody ever uses their mobile phones outside the City, do they?
        • You can get high-speed buckets of 200MB, 2GB, 5GB, and 10GB. If you need more, you can get more. That being said, all data plans (except the 200MB one) are unlimited usage, with the exception of how much full-speed data you can use. After that, your speed is cut.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Well, I imagine they're aiming to have their LTE service where their 3G service was maybe 4-5 years ago. That wasn't bad - I had service in most metropolitan suburbs I visited, and 2G service anywhere that there were more people than bears. Today their 3G service is basically ubiquitous, and to be honest there aren't a lot of things that 3G isn't sufficient for. Their "4G" service is about as widespread as their 3G service as well.

      Sure, it isn't as useful as Verizon if you're camping in the woods, but I'

  • I like T-Mobile CS. But service in my home area is spotty at best and some of the places I go non existant. (One reason I like them is free Wi-Fi calling for home is awesome) But most of those places have good AT&T reception. Was almost hoping in a service way the deal went through but in CS way it didn't. I was hoping the failed deal would allow all T-Mobile access to AT&T in all area's, not just select few area's that AT&T/Tmobile agreements allow. (The one area I know of TMobile recept is
    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Unfortunately there is no way you'd get the best of both worlds. If the merger went through you'd get AT&T service, and soon after AT&T CS and rates. Oh, and not much later everybody would raise their rates so you'd pay more than current AT&T rates by the time it is done...

    • There's a website you can go to for requesting coverage improvements. http://www.t-mobile-takeaction.com/ [t-mobile-takeaction.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What's the point of offering speeds up to 74Mbps for a phone, when service providers give you ridiculously low data plans at an extravagantly high price... So we can rip through that low data plan faster than before?

    • by sir-gold (949031)
      For t-mobile, this would mean that you would have blazing fast internet for exactly 9 minutes and 13 seconds before you hit the 5gb "unlimited" cap, at which point you would spend the rest of the month reliving the year 1994 with a 48kbps (dialup!) speed limit.
      • by cbhacking (979169)

        To be fair, that's still a better deal than most other carriers offer, where either you'll be cut off, or you'll pay through the nose. Sprint is vetter, but it's the only one.

        Also, they throttle you down to EDGE (sometiems called "2.5G"). It's slow, sure, but it's not unusable (I can even stream music on EDGE) and it's closer to 2004 than 1994 in terms of smartphone speeds (the first iPhone couldn't do better than EDGE at all!) I don't know what the "official" speed for EDGE is, but my (T-Mobile) phone get

        • by sir-gold (949031)
          I wish they only throttled down to edge speeds, but its actually SLOWER than edge. When t-mobile first implemented 3g/4g throttling, you could manually switch the phone to 2g and get somewhat faster speeds from unthrottled edge. About a month later they started throttling edge too. When you hit your monthly limit, you can't stream anything, unless you are willing to wait 2 minutes between songs on pandora.
      • by rta (559125)

        Don't worry, they'll continue to be terribly oversubscribed the same way they are now. Most places i go i only get between 150k and 500k even on their "4g" HSPA+ It's clearly a load issue since on holiday weekends or in the early morning it actually gets faster.

        i have no idea why they keep advertising all these stupid video services and when i can barely surf the web.

  • Their corporate headquarters in is Factoria, just outside of Bellevue, Washington

    It is pretty much impossible to get a signal in it's general area. The surrounding stores & restaurants are a dead zone.

    If they build the network so you can actually get a signal, I will gladly leave AT&T for them.
  • At least one of the US carriers finally is realizing that they have bandwidth. Dump 2G and use those frequencies for more advanced protocols. Too many of them keep their "largest coverage area" by keeping 2G going, instead of replacing it.
  • the tightfisted German owner (Deutsche Telekom) who was too cheap invest in 4G infrastructure or put down the money for the iPhone. As a result their market share kept dwindling.

    Now that they have some money and that new pink dress wearing spokesperson (C.Zeta-Jones was getting too old) maybe they will do better.

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