If there was any doubt that 4G/LTE was the way 4G was going to go, that’s out the window now. T-Mobile has announced that they are switching over to 4G/LTE and skipping the next iteration of HSPA+. That now means that all four U.S. carriers; Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will all have 4G/LTE.
In a perfect world, with all four carriers switching to 4G/LTE, that would pave the way for the carriers to stop subsidizing phones and OEM’s to sell unlocked phones. Although that’s what Best Buy CEO, Brian Dunn, would like, it’s not likely to happen.
More after the break
After the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile fell apart, a reinvigorated T-Mobile USA CEO Philip Humm told a group of reporters at a private event at CES that they were working to make advancements and move T-Mobile forward. T-Mobile just ran into nearly $4 billion dollars when the merger fell apart, that was the “break up” clause in the agreement with AT&T.
During that event Humm and other T-Mobile executives were preparing for the next iteration of 4G HSPA+ which is 82mbps HSPA+. However, now with T-Mobile’s new “challenger” strategy, they’ve decided to skip over 82mbps HSPA+ and instead push forward with HSPA+.
Like AT&T, T-Mobile is a GSM based carrier. That makes a transition to 4G/LTE a little easier than CDMA. Both Verizon Wireless and Sprint are CDMA carriers and are having to build out an entirely new network to transition their customers to 4G/LTE. Verizon Wireless is well on that path with over 192 markets and 200 million people covered by 4G/LTE.
T-Mobile’s transition to 4G/LTE is expected to reduce 2G capacity on the network. To offset that T-Mobile plans to stop offering 3G devices once their 4G/LTE network footprint is in place.