Alongside its fourth quarter operating results, T-Mobile USA has announced plans to significantly expand its network over the next two years, including the launch of its own 4G LTE network. Dubbed the "reinvigorated challenger strategy", the plan outlines the carrier's plans to remain competitive as rival networks grow their LTE coverage in the coming months and years.
In short, Tmo says it'll invest $4 billion in its network, which will go towards "network modernization", including the expansion of existing voice and ("4G" HSPA+) data coverage, as well as the new LTE network. The carrier says it plans to build this new network using spectrum obtained after the collapse of AT&T's buyout bid, as well as freeing up space for LTE in its existing AWS and PCS spectrum . In arriving a little late to the LTE party, Tmo CTO Neville Ray says it'll benefit from a "more mature device ecosystem", likely meaning improved radio efficiency, and in turn better battery life.
T-Mobile may have big plans for 2013, but things weren't exactly rosy during the last quarter of 2011. The network lost over 800,000 subscribers during the last three months of the year, which it attributed to "iPhone 4S launches by three nationwide competitors."
We've got T-Mobile's full press release after the break.
T-Mobile USA Announces Reinvigorated Challenger Strategy
Begins Major Network Transformation in 2012 with LTE Launch Planned for 2013
BELLEVUE, Wash. — Feb. 23, 2012 — Today, T-Mobile USA, Inc. CEO and President Philipp Humm outlined the company’s reinvigorated challenger strategy focused on making amazing 4G services affordable. T-Mobile will invest in strategic initiatives to get the business back to growth. 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 2013.1
"We want to be known for delivering the best value in wireless because of the advanced technology we deliver at an affordable price,” said Philipp Humm CEO and President of T-Mobile USA. “Over the next two years, we’re prioritizing and investing in initiatives designed to get T-Mobile back to growth in the years ahead — beginning with the transformation of our network.”
Additional investment areas core to the company’s challenger strategy include aggressively pursuing the B2B segment, expanding the sales force by 1,000; ramping up advertising spending; and attracting new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partners with an efficient platform for getting to market. T-Mobile will also continue to remodel its retail stores and expand distribution.
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. Also, other enablers are faster adoption of 3G and 4G services and improved device performance.
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.
“Today, we operate America’s Largest 4G Network delivering a fast and reliable 4G data experience with HSPA+,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer, T-Mobile USA. “Launching LTE next year lets us take advantage of technology infrastructure advancements and benefit from a more mature LTE device ecosystem while continuing to meet the growing demand for data with a powerful 4G experience.”
T-Mobile expects to be the first carrier in North America to modernize its 4G network infrastructure with new antenna integrated radios on many of its cell towers, which will deliver higher performance and strengthen coverage.
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.
T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network, which currently covers well over 200 million people, will continue to deliver a competitive 4G experience. T-Mobile will continue to expand its HSPA+ 4G footprint and its innovative 4G product and service offerings. For example, the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S® Blaze™ 4G, launching in March, is the newest smartphone in T-Mobile’s portfolio to support the faster speeds offered by the HSPA+ 42 network.