T-Mobile Promises Nationwide Network Expansion

by Matt Klassen on March 14, 2014

T-Mobile is promising big things when it comes to network upgrades and expansion, and America’s fourth largest wireless carrier wants everyone to know it. On Thursday the country’s UnCarrier said that its plans to add an upgraded 4G LTE to its aging yet significantly more expansive 2G network, offering broader coverage and increased performance to more customers. Beyond that, T-Mobile reiterated its plan to employ the wireless spectrum acquired from Verizon to increase its network footprint even further.

The hope is, of course, to shore up T-Mobile’s single most glaring weakness, its nationwide coverage, as the company looks for additional ways to compete with its larger, more established competitors. This also means, however, more quarterly losses for the UnCarrier, as the company adds this network rebuild to its ongoing aggressive (and costly) promotional campaigns.

But strangely enough, amidst purchasing much needed additional spectrum from Verizon to assist this network expansion, T-Mobile has announced it’s also taking legal action against Big Red, taking issue with Verizon’s use of T-Mobile’s LTE coverage map in the former’s advertising campaigns. T-Mobile argument is that Verizon is making “misleading competitive claims,” “cherry-picking” a single technology (LTE) to “illustrate its superiority,” and claims its 4G coverage (including 4G HSPA+) is, in truth, much larger.

There’s no question that network performance and coverage are of the utmost importance, both its customers looking for the best options and carriers looking to differentiate themselves in an ultra-competitive market. It’s in this environment that T-Mobile feels misrepresented, afraid (as it rightly should be) that customers will buy into Verizon’s constant barrage of advertising regarding its own unprecedented nationwide footprint.

“Verizon’s ink blots massively understate our coverage and don’t begin to represent the actual customer experience on T-Mobile’s network,” CEO John Legere said in a statement. As mentioned, the company has taken legal action against Verizon to curb this misrepresentation.

Further, T-Mobile actually employs the faster network, out-clocking its rivals in major metropolitan areas; markets, the company argues, that matter the most. But that’s exactly the problem for the perennial fourth place finisher, its dearth of coverage. While there’s no question that T-Mobile is currently winning the speed race, beyond the major national markets the company’s coverage is spotty at best.

Its here, though, that T-Mobile is hoping to make significant inroads over the next two years, using its existing 2G network (which has a significantly larger footprint) as a foundation for its 4G LTE upgrade. As CNET’s Roger Cheng explains, “By overlaying the faster LTE network over its slower 2G “Edge” network, it hopes to bring its speedier connection to more people.”

Further, the spectrum T-Mobile is purchasing from Verizon will serve to expand the company’s nationwide coverage, as the valuable 700 megahertz spectrum it will acquire operates at a lower bandwidth, meaning it can be used over greater distances to provide both coverage and performance.

In the end, if T-Mobile has any chance of holding on to the torrential influx of customers attracted to the company’s aggressive promotional campaigns its going to have to deliver a better network experience, and if today’s news proves anything, its that at least T-Mobile knows that too.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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