Posts tagged ‘T-Mobile USA’

Interview: Principal Architect, Network Technology, T-Mobile USA: “IPv4 was a business risk and supporting IPv6 was a business opportunity.”

Mehul Shah is a principal architect with T-Mobile USA in the Network Technology group

Mehul Shah is a principal architect with T-Mobile USA in the Network Technology group

Mehul Shah is a principal architect with T-Mobile USA in the Network Technology group. He is speaking in the LTE Evolution track on Day One of the LTE Asia conference taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. 

How is your LTE roll-out going?

As of July 1st 2013 T-Mobile USA covers 157million POPs with LTE. We have publicly stated that we intend to cover 200M POPs by end of 2013.

You marketed HSPA+ as 4G. Do your customers appreciate the difference that LTE brings?

LTE is on top and in addition to our nationwide 4G HSPA+ network. Customers with LTE devices get access to both 4G technologies and T-Mobile 4G LTE devices will automatically and seamlessly transition to T-mobile’s 4G network


LTE at CES 2013

CES-2013The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the glitzy tech-fest that takes place in Las Vegas ever January, is over for another year. Last year LTE featured heavily with many manufacturers choosing to announce their new-fangled LTE handsets there, ahead of the traditional mobile launchpad that is the Mobile World Congress in February.

However, as LTE is starting to become mainstream there was less activity on the LTE front, but there was still enough  related announcements to give us something to talk about.

T-Mobile announces LTE

T-Mobile USA is the one major network not to have launched an LTE network yet and its CTO Neville Ray made the revelation that the network would finally be launching its LTE network in a matter of weeks. It’s had 4G for some time of course, via the oh-so-clever ruse of telling everyone that its 42Mbps HSPA+ network was 4G. (It is in fact faster than LTE in spectrum constrained locations, but while HSPA+ is the end of the road for UMTS, LTE is just the start for the technology).


Excitingly for T-Mobile customers the iPhone 5 could finally arriving on the network bringing the network up to date with pretty much everyone else.

Ray hinted that it wanted LTE to have been launched in Las Vegas in time of the show, but it didn’t quite make the schedule. Still, if it does launch, any day now, it’s still in advance of the initial plans that had T-Mobile launch in mid-2013 and the company how hopes to have a total of 100m covered by that time.

Verizon bigs up its LTE network

The world’s biggest LTE player Verizon also used CES to show off some impressive stats. It’s CEO Lowell McAdam revealed that its LTE network covers 89 per cent of its footprint just two years after it started and it will be finished its roll out mid-2013, well ahead of its rivals.


In car LTE

In car LTE is becoming a thing. At CES Audi unveiled its latest A3 with LTE build in, courtesy of a Gobi multi-mode 3G/LTE Qualcomm chip. “”We will soon be offering a fully integrated LTE link for our Audi connect services in the new Audi A3 in 2013,” said Ricky Hudi, chief Audi executive engineer.”

The integrated LTE will provide connectivity for up to eight devices in the car. That’s impressive considering that only five passengers can fit in the A3 at once. I guess that’s two each for the four passengers and none for the driver, which is probably best.


RIM, owners of the drowning Blackberry brand, also unveiled an LTE related car to showcase its QNX platform, using a black 2012 Bentley Continental GT. Subtle.

Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset
Nvidia gained a lot of attention at CES for its ‘Shield’ concept, a portable games console powered by its Tegra 4 chipset, running Android yet with dedicated gaming controls – essentially a marriage of the PSP concept with an Android smartphone. Of interest to us though was the LTE support in the newly announced Tegra 4.

The Tegra 4 features an Icera soft-modem. The soft-modem has the advantage of being able to be software updated, which can’t be done with a fixed hardware solution, and this will utilised soon as while it support Category 3 LTE at launch, this is said to be updated to Category 4 in due course. However the downside is that it draws more power than fixed hardware, which for today’s currently battery constrained smartphones isn’t good news. As LTE hits the mainstream it will be interesting to see how many smartphone design wins Tegra 4 gets in 2013.


What now for US LTE after AT&T pulls out of T-Mobile merger deal?

The AT&T and T-Mobile USA merger is off, but how will this affect LTE in the US?

So it’s all over at last. After months of attempted deal making AT&T has thrown in the towel in its $39 billion attempt to take T-Mobile USA off the hands of its parent company Deutsche Telekom. The defeat followed on from both the Justice Department and the FCC blocking the deal, stating that it would be bad move for consumers by reducing competition in the market, raising prices, and doing harm to the economy due to inevitable job losses.

“Consumers won today,” said Sharis Pozen, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Had AT&T acquired T-Mobile, consumers…would have faced higher prices and reduced innovation.”

While it might be good for consumers, it’s a blow for all the players in the deal. As recompense to T-Mobile,  AT&T has to cough up $3 billion in cash, and ironically, actually divest some spectrum to it as well. AT&T was keen on the deal as it was a relatively affordable way for it to get hold of T-Mobile’s spectrum so it could more easily compete with Verizon. The latter company has managed to raise its profile with a successful LTE network roll-out, just as AT&T has lost the shine which came from its iPhone exclusivity deal – a now distant (and for some bad) memory. At the same time, it would have eliminated a competitor for AT&T; albeit a struggling one.

AT&T will also now have to take the more traditional route to improve its network, by investing in its own infrastructure, and bid for any spectrum that might become available on the open market. This will undoubtedly come at a higher price than if it had been able to acquire T-Mobile’s AWS spectrum directly.

Deutsche Telekom has failed to offload an ailing and costly part of its business, it will now have to decide whether it tries to flog off T-Mobile to someone else, or go the other way and choose to invest heavily. The latter seems unlikely.

T-Mobile though now faces the prospect of having to try and compete to stay alive after months of not investing in its network. It’s doesn’t offer the Apple iPhone, whereas the top three now do, making it even harder to win lucrative customers that sign contracts. It lost 850,000 such customers in the first nine months this year, and this news is unlikely to stop the leak.

It’s not all bad though for T-Mobile. One upside for is that as part of the deal severance, it now has a seven-year (domestic only) roaming agreement with AT-T, which will increase its footprint across the country into areas where it previously has no coverage.

Meanwhile it’s a big, big win for Verizon, which while it’s competitors were locked up in a fruitless battle with the courts and the regulator, announced its intention to buy AWS licences from failed joint-venture cable companies SpectrumCo and Cox Communications, giving it 40-80MHz of spectrum to play with many urban areas. As this is a relatively non-threatening move compared to what AT&T was trying to pull off, it’s likely to sail through the FCC and Justice Department unopposed. (Update: OK, maybe not. The DOJ is now taking a close look at this one too).

When you throw in the uncertainly around LightSquared’s attempts at launching a LTE network, and Sprint and Clearwire’s move away from WiMAX to LTE, this year has been a year of sound and fury, while signifying relatively little.

If the US carriers can decide on clear strategies and choose to move forward instead of playing political games, LightSquared could sort out its GPS related technical issues and become a major disruptive influence in the market, making next year a truly seismic one as far as LTE in the US is concerned.

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