T-Mobile iPhone 5

This is kind of interesting. T-Mobile’s long-awaited LTE network has been spotted in the wild, offering up super-fast data in a suburb of New York City. The carrier is the only one left of the major four in the US that doesn’t offer the 4G tech, but it’s expected to finally launch this year. And a curious subscriber just discovered one of its sites in Astoria, Queens

t-mobile lte

GigaOM reader Milan Milanović made the discovery with his LG Nexus 4 handset:

“Milanović said that the Astoria cells are actually invisible to most phones even if they support LTE at the proper band. He had to force his way onto the network by setting his Nexus 4 (which unofficially supports LTE in T-Mo’s 4G airwaves) to LTE-only mode and manually scan for a network connection. Milanović encountered a 5 MHz-by-5 MHz link in the 1700 MHz/2100 MHz frequencies, but he was allocated only half of the 37 Mbps of bandwidth that the network could theoretically support.”

The site goes on to note that T-Mobile has already completed construction on a handful of other LTE sites, including some in Las Vegas and Kansas City. Back in January, the carrier’s CEO John Legere said that it was hoping to light up its first LTE markets “within a few weeks.” But so far, we haven’t heard anything outside of these various scattered reports.

If you’re wondering why we’re so concerned with the status of T-Mobile’s LTE rollout, it’s because the provider is widely expected to start carrying the iPhone in the next few months. The news was confirmed earlier this year by Legere, at the Citi Global Conference, who told reporters the carrier now sees around 100K unlocked iPhone activations per month.

T-Mobile is certainly making a lot of moves right now. And when you combine its LTE rollout, its growing HSPA+ network, its just-approved MetroPCS merger, and its newly-released unlimited plans, it’s making a pretty good case for itself for future iPhone users. But a lot hangs on what its new ‘no subsidies’ model looks like, which is due to start anytime now.

  • Milad Khahil

    Too bad i had to leave tmobile for Verizon due to the iphone 5
    Had 5 lines unlocked iphone with tmobile but couldn’t take it anymore with the slow edge …
    All the good luck , it’s a good carrier 🙂

    • thetown

      my too moving of tmobile to verizon because tmobile is shit

  • whats that speed testing app?

    • pauleebe

      Well it’s an android phone, not sure though.

    • It’s Sensorly

  • Tate

    i get constant 12-15mbps down here in Atlanta, but my uploads are generally 2-6mbps though

  • Ohhh the civilization. I feel lucky when i get 3 mbs down here in Panama City, Panama. And the uploads are .25 🙁

  • abracadabras

    i find the irony quite amusing:
    finding lte on a non-lte network with a non-lte phone

    and by the way, astoria is technically not a suburb of nyc

    • TBN27

      The Nexus 4 has an LTE chip. And Astoria isn’t a suburb period. It is part of the city also. People only think NYC is only manhattan and not know that NYC is comprised of 5 counties/boroughs.

  • TBN27

    I now know why the in building penetration strength tanked. It was because they are working on the LTE network in Astoria as well as the rest of the city.

  • Left T-Mobile for AT&T (iPhone) Verizon (iPad) a while ago, Verizon has the best LTE Coverage I’ve ever seen!

  • Rodney Coleman

    Ummm wow….. 15 Mbps… Pretty sad :/

  • Rodney Coleman

    Seems like sprint to me