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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.

Reader comments

T-Mobile USA to launch LTE in 2013 using spectrum from AT&T


I actually like that they are GSM HSPA+. The speeds are excellent and the phones don't drain their batteries as quickly. If they would just extend their HSPA+ 42 coverage more, I think they'd be pretty competitive with the LTE carriers. Especially if they maintained their low prices.

Here's hoping they stay relevant. They recently moved into my area with their HSPA coverage. Which is highly ironic seeing as AT&T doesn't even offer 3G where I live.

I'm considering switching my family over for the cost savings from Verizon.

So basically AT&T gave T-Mobile 4 billion dollars for the failed merger. Now T-Mobile will have a better network than AT&T. Lol

I'm starting to wonder if all of the people who were screaming that T-Mobile was going to die if you didn't let the AT&T merger go through were AT&T shills.

Not I.  Happy T-Mobile customer, love their service, but know they're going to die slowly. Notice they get no money from their parent company and only have the AT&T "bonus bucks" to use for network expansion. This just delays the inevitable, and makes them more attractive for the next buyer.

It cost a lot of money to build up 4G LTE everywhere, will 4 Billion Dollars cover all their coverage? I dont think so, consider how much investment AT&T did in just florida for their network was around 4 Billion Dollars, plus AT&T paid Tmo 3 Billion in cash and 1 Billion in spectrum, dont get me wrong they can still get 4G LTE going but will they replace all their coverage? and will they use HSPA+ as fallback? or Edge instead.

I'm almost positive that they will fall back to hspa+ if not in an LTE area. Just like AT&T does, except Tmos hspa+ I much faster.And yeah, $4 billion isn't going to spread LTE to their entire spectrum, but it is a start. I'm completely excited about this news because for a while there, I really though TMO wasn't going to go LTE, and I'm glad it'll be later down the road, so by then all the issues LTE has should be gone by then (battery drain, blackouts)

I would like to see them spend the money to get me consistent 4G service to go along with nice SGSII 4G phone I have now! Looking to the future is important, but maximize your service and relationships with your current customers first. Or you will lose a whole lot more!!

I don't know if T-Mobile will make it but I'm more impressed with this as opposed throwing billions away to Apple for iPhone rights like Sprint chose to do.

Lost 800,000 subscribers in the last three months? Sure does sound like a company in trouble to me!!
I do find it ironic ATT says they want to buy Tmo to increase spectrum- then pay off the failed deal by giving it away...

I am extremely happy with my hspa+ speeds as they are more than adequate for what I do, but I am excited to see that t-mobile is looking to the future with LTE. I'm sure by the time they begin to deploy it all or at least most of the bugs will have been worked out and the LTE we receive will be leaps and bounds beyond what you get with verizon or at&t now. AT&T HSPA+ vs TMO HSPA+ is proof of this fact. Either way as I said before i'm extremely happy with HSPA+ so i'm in no hurry for LTE.

My father has a GSII for T-Mobile and consistently gets 15-16 mbps down and 5 mbps up in Washington, DC. I have an Evo on Sprint's "4G" network and in the same neighborhoods consistently get 4 mbps down and 1 mbps up. My 3500 mAh battery dies within about six to eight hours of light usage when I have 4G, data sync, and GPS turned on. His battery is half that size and lasts all day with all of his radios on. I know my phone is old, but seriously, why would he want to switch to LTE? HSPA+ is capable, as a technology, of speeds nearing 100 mbps down and 35-40 up. If he is getting, right now, on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, the same speeds we're getting at home over wi-fi with Verizon FIOS, then WHY should he switch to a heavier phone that costs more money and gets terrible battery life? I just don't get this.

I can tell you this since. I have both vzw mifi LTE and t-mobile SG2 in ATL . Speed wise they really are about the same with the SG2 gets around 23 megs down and 4 up and VZW getting 18 down and 6 to 7 up. So frankly i will take hspa+ without all the LTE outages and battery drain on VZW. When t-mobile pushes out to 42 megs hspa that to me will still be a better choice than spending all this money on a LTE network. i don't see why anyone would't push their current tech to the limit before having to invest in a LTE network which gives the same performance at even in its next evolutionly state. makes no sense. We don't see T or orange etc rolling out LTE on the other side the pond. Food for thought i guess.