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T-Mobile Looking To Close LTE Coverage Gap With Verizon In Next Two Years

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Braxton Carter, the chief financial officer of T-Mobile, spoke this week during the Deutsche Bank 25th Annual Media & Telecom Conference held in Palm Beach in Florida, and disclosed that one of the top priorities right now for T-Mobile is to continue to narrow the gap with industry leader Verizon Wireless, especially when it comes to the geographic reach of its LTE coverage in America.

Braxton pointed out that while T-Mobile has already covered 99.7 percent of Verizon’s customers, the Big Red still has a 700,000 square mile edge on T-Mobile. And despite the fact that T-Mobile has inked roaming contracts with other mobile operators, the coverage these other carriers provide are not full 4G LTE. Still, Braxton is confident that T-Mobile should be able to cover those 700,000 square miles by the year 2019.

Last month, testing firm OpenSignal released its latest report evaluating the quality and coverage of LTE networks in the United States. Gathering information from nearly 170,000 consumers in America, OpenSignal found that Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile offered the fastest LTE networks across the country. Verizon’s average LTE download speed was at 16.89 Mbps, while T-Mobile’s was at 16.65 Mbps. The two major wireless carriers were also tied in terms of overall download speed, which takes into account both 3G and LTE connection speeds.

But when it comes 4G LTE availability, Verizon Wireless continues to be the leader. OpenSignal found that the Big Red had the best 4G availability in 20 of the 36 markets the testing firm looked into. But while T-Mobile continues to trail Verizon, it has shown significant improvement in the last few quarters and is never far behind, at least according to OpenSignal’s metrics for LTE availability and latency (data connection response time).


Source: Fierce Wireless

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33 comments:

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  1. Still I am getting poor signals while Verizon and AT&T getting outstanding. Explain?

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    1. She cut too much out of the article when she copied it. You need a phone with Band 12 support to get the full coverage described.

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    2. Even with band 12, I have to put my phone right in a window to get even a slow trickle of data. Sprint is slightly better, but still awful. Meanwhile both ATT & Verizon give 4-5 bars indoors here. That's the real scam here, equating incredibly weak outdoor TMobile signals to very strong ATT/Verizon ones. Don't believe the hype. And what's more, ATT/Verizon MVNOs offer service just as cheap as TMobile and it's MVNOs.

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  2. This is about T-Mobile's possible future, not its current reality.

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  3. Here is the original article, with more information:
    http://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/t-mobile-cfo-covering-remaining-lte-coverage-gap-big-priority

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  4. T-Mobile makes grand claims when it comes to coverage and then fails. Sad!

    They claim to have band 12 "throughout the [SF] Bay Area" as of 8/2016, and this not the case whatsoever. Dennis can back me up on this. Their coverage map is a joke. Wherever you see "Fair" coverage, assume none.

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    1. My T-Mobile phone doesn't support band 12 but I've haven't had any issues with T-Mobile coverage in the parts of the SF Bay area I frequent. I'm mostly in San Francisco and the Northern Peninsula and north on 101 as far as San Raphael. I even get T-Mobile coverage in a couple of AT&T dead spots (the back of SSF Costco and the western end of Glen Canyon Park in San Francisco).

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    2. No, it's SPRINT that does nothing but make empty promise after empty promise, year after year, and *consistently* fail to deliver. It's the ONLY thing we can count on about SPRINT!

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    3. I am in the bay area and have a Band 12 capable phone. In areas were cover is very weak, i.e, indoor, large building, offbeat areas, enabling of Band 12 did not yield any notable improvement. I do get decent signal level in most areas I go to...

      The biggest issue is T-Mobile's VoLTE network. A lot of dropped calls and sudden audio loss or silence. This happens on multiple and different phones. The way to get around the drop call is to disable VoLTE but then you notice an obvious shrink in coverage when you are circuit switch port of network...

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    4. Has T-Mobile turned down the power on band 12? I remember when it first came to my area in late 2015 it worked very well. Now it seems that band 12 is harder to connect to and data speed over it has slowed down. Or is the drop in performance secondary to the increased number of band 12 devices in service?

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    5. Higher network load results in reduced speed and availability. T-Mobile has added more customers and more band 12 phones so the load is higher.

      T-Mobile has much less bandwidth on band 12 than it does on 4 and 2. The best speeds on T-Mobile are usually on band 4 where T-Mobile has the most bandwidth.

      T-Mobile phones are probably tuned to favor bands 4 and 2 if available because they are faster and to avoid unnecessarity wasting the limited band 12 bandwidth.

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    6. Hmmm. looks like most of T-Mobile's recent expansion is Band 12, which according to you, Dennies (and anecdotes of others) is rather iffy. Outside of Band 12, T-Mobile is a lot more like Sprint: only covering a small part of where Americans live/work/play, and thus meeting the needs of a small proportion of the cell customer base.

      Sounds like smoke and mirrors to me, and it will take a lot more than 2 years before T-Mobile can run with the big dogs.

      If you subtract the "Band 12" shell game, you would get something a lot more like the T-Mobile native-coverage MVNO map which is the current one shown at PrepaidPhoneNews.

      click here

      ...where really only 7 or so states have decent T-Mobile coverage, and most states have hardly any at all.

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    7. "The biggest issue is T-Mobile's VoLTE network. A lot of dropped calls and sudden audio loss or silence."

      I agree. Maybe I'm too jaded with T-Mobile's implementation, but this is why I wasn't excited about Cricket's voLTE announcement like some of the other commenters in previous articles were. Hand-off seamlessness and QC need work. I'm not entirely sure if it's reasonable to even expect totally seamless hand-offs between circuit and packet switched networks. Maybe when networks are all-LTE it will get better.

      "Now it seems that band 12 is harder to connect to and data speed over it has slowed down. Or is the drop in performance secondary to the increased number of band 12 devices in service"

      To add to Dennis' reply, T-Mobile has band 12 in mostly, if not completely 5x5 deployments whereas they have up to 20x20 deployments of band 4. So if you're some place where band 12 is the only network T-Mobile has...it's going to slow down pretty fast. Plus, band 12 naturally isn't a high speed network, relative to higher frequency networks. It's there more for wider coverage.

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  5. Dennis has also documented the T-Mobile map showing AT&T coverage as being native T-Mobile coverage.

    As for the subject, I want to see a comparison of ALL coverage, not just LTE. Because if T-Mobile equalled Verizon in LTE, and Verizon also had a large territory of 3G that TMO didn't match at all that would put Upstart Magenta pretty far behind still.

    You can still do some stuff in 3G. I think it's much better than nothing.

    I also commend Braxton Carter for speaking in terms of what really matters with mobile carriers: square miles of coverage (instead of intentionally misleading and mentioning "people covered" at their home address, or POPs... which lose all meaning once mobile phone customers leave their driveways)

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    1. "Because if T-Mobile equalled Verizon in LTE, and Verizon also had a large territory of 3G that TMO didn't match at all that would put Upstart Magenta pretty far behind still."

      This is exactly the case. T-Mobile's recent advertising compares just the LTE networks.

      "I also commend Braxton Carter for speaking in terms of what really matters with mobile carriers: square miles of coverage (instead of intentionally misleading and mentioning "people covered" at their home address, or POPs... which lose all meaning once mobile phone customers leave their driveways)"

      Their advertising is all about the 99.7% of Verizon's LTE coverage. Maybe Verizon should get ahold of this media event and come up with a creative commercial using Carter's own words to point out the reality about coverage.

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  6. They are already expensive than Verizon.. Don't know why they are acting like No.1 wireless company in the U.S.

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    1. "They are already expensive than Verizon.. Don't know why they are acting like No.1 wireless company in the U.S."

      I agree with "wut?" on the expensive. T-Mobile is still cheaper... even though you get what you pay for.

      As for the "Don't know why", it is a good business strategy to act like the leader even if you aren't.

      Far better than the other way, like MSNBC, which keeps whining on its shows about not being as successful as FOX. It drives home the "loser" idea.

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    2. "They are already expensive than Verizon"

      Yes, in some ways they are. 5GB on Verizon postpaid is $55. 2GB on T-Mobile (achieved through KickBack) is $60 (70-10.) On Verizon, if you go over the 5GB, you get free unlimited 2G. On T-Mobile, if you go over 2GB you get bumped up to "unlimited" high speed, but you lose the $10 KickBack discount.

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    3. Hey, T-Mobile, if you don't have any hope of matching Verizon's network quality by the end of the decade, you can at least match Verizon on price, eh?

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    4. Wow - what a dishonest price comparison @10:27!
      1. Verizon $55 promo price is without taxes and fees. Limited to 3 lines, with no multi-line discount. Requires AutoPay, with no paper bill available. If a Verizon customer needs 7GB of fast data instead of 5, they pay $70/month on promo, plus taxes and fees. As promos, these may disappear at any time.
      2. If someone only needs 2 or 5GB, they won't sign up for T-Mobile One unless they want a family plan like the current multi-line special, 2 or 3 lines for $100 total. Simple Choice with 2GB or Simply Prepaid with 5GB only costs $50 total on T-Mobile. Simply Prepaid 10GB, twice the Verizon promo amount is the ~same price at $60 total. Unlimited 128kbps data after HS limit is reached.

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    5. Don't abuse yourself trying to buy Verizon Prepaid in a Vzw store. Get it online, or at your local WalMart. The best comparison to Tmo prepaid are their 7GB and 12GB exclusives for $50 and $70. They fit in above and below the Tmo Simply Prepaid 10GB plan, $60. The Walmart $50 plan beats both the regular Verizon and the Tmo $50 plans (5GB).
      If all you need is 2GB/month, T-Mobile gives you an extra 1 GB for your $40 compared to Verizon. And if you only type on blogs all day and don't talk much, the famous $30/5GB Tmo plan can't be beat for what it offers on a single line.

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  7. I have an iphone with band 12 and signal still sux in living rooom, in bedrooom its great tho
    20 feet away

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  8. After being with Verizon and AT&T mvnos for many years I believed all the T-Mobile hype and switched this month.What a joke for coverage.Great in urban areas but in rural it sucks.(from Wisconsin)When it's closer to the end of the month I will be back on an AT&Ts mvnos doorstep.Probably for good this time.Life is to short to spend it waiting for a signal.

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    1. Yes, T-Mobile coverage is totally deceptive.

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    2. "Great in urban areas but in rural it sucks.(from Wisconsin)"

      20 million+ (natives and visitors, from yearly totals) need cell phone coverage in Wyoming and Montana alone. Multiply this by other territories T-Mobile shills deem as worthless states, "only cows there" and "illegitimate cities"... and all the huge empty areas in states with partial coverage, and you get a total needing the coverage T-Mobile lacks that exceeds the total number of customers the company has. It puts a ceiling on their growth unless T-Mobile can provide actual good coverage where Americans go.


      And yes, I have seen T-Mobile shills call any metro area without TMO coverage an "illegitimate city". I've seen really hateful language toward farmers too (part of the meme that if you don't have good T-Mobile coverage, you are a farmer and don't need coverage on your tractor).

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    3. Anon1007, it isn't even the "illegitimate cities" they discount, they also gloss over the reality that even if T-Mobile is an "urban" carrier as per the strictest of definitions...people may have to drive between urban centers! And T-Mobile's coverage on these drives is still lacking.

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    4. Avon007: Are you still on her majesty's T-Mobile Secret Plan service?

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    5. Yousa must be STRONG in he Force to get MetroPCS in Begger's Canyon or even Mos Eisley!

      Outside of Coruscant, meesa no like the signal!

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    6. T-Mobile is in a bit of a bind. They still have poor coverage, even if it is better than Sprint. If they live up to their promises, they will be a true nationwide carrier in a couple of years.

      But they can't very well tell people to stay away from T-Mobile until it is good enough to meet their needs, so they fudge things and provide deceptive advertising and maps to make the network seem better than it is. I can understand why they do this, even if it is not right, or the upstanding thing to do.

      But since when has John Legere been an upstanding and ethical person?

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  9. T-Mobile doesn't have the licenses to provide coverage in 700,000 square miles. Unless they plan to expand roaming agreements, this is all smoke and mirrors.

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    1. That's incorrect. Please refer to these Maps of T-Mobile's spectrum holdings - Spectrum Gateway. Except for a small patch in Iowa, T-Mobile has spectrum covering the whole country. T-Mobile is also a bidder in the current 600 Mhz spectrum auction where they are likely to get even more spectrum.

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  10. Meesa thinks T-Mobile is full of poodoo!

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