T-Mobile iPhone launch line

T-Mobile announced today that it has plans to upgrade its entire 2G/EDGE network to 4G LTE. The carrier, which is the fourth largest in the US, says it hopes to be halfway complete with the upgrade by the end of 2014 and expects to be substantially complete by the middle of next year.

The promise to quickly bring its network up to speed with its competitors should help appease customers, who complain of lower speeds in rural and suburban areas. While T-Mobile currently has LTE in many major US cities, a lot of its coverage map is still made up of EDGE and HSPA…

Here’s an excerpt from T-Mobile’s press release:

Less than one year since launch, T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network already reaches 210 million people in 273 metro areas nationwide. Building on the unprecedented pace of its LTE rollout, T-Mobile is now kicking off a major new program to upgrade its 2G/EDGE network with 4G LTE. The company plans to complete 50 percent of the work this year alone, and expects the program to be substantially complete by the middle of next year. The upgrade will provide customers who currently experience 2G/EDGE coverage new access to 4G LTE, and many already covered by 4G LTE will enjoy access to 4G LTE in even more places. In addition, T-Mobile plans to begin deploying 4G LTE this year in the new 700 MHz A-Block spectrum the company is in the process of acquiring.

In addition to announcing its network upgrade plans, T-Mobile also says that it wants Verizon to cease and desist with its ‘misleading competitive claims’ in its coverage map ads. You’ve seen the commercials where Verizon shows inkblot-style maps of its own LTE coverage versus other carriers.

Verizon’s ink blots massively understate our coverage and don’t begin to represent the actual customer experience on T-Mobile’s network,” said Legere. “So we’re setting the record straight – both by demanding an end to the misinformation, and by going straight to the people with the truth.”

T-Mobile has taken legal action demanding that Verizon cease and desist the carrier’s network map advertising, arguing that Verizon has cherry-picked a single network technology to depict in its ads rather than accurately reflecting the many technologies widely in use today. T-Mobile reaches over 230 million people nationwide with 4G HSPA+, which provides 4G coverage in many locations where LTE has not yet been rolled out.  This is in addition to T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE coverage.

Here’s one of the carrier’s new TV spots on the subject:


With all of the work T-Mobile has been doing to acquire customers in the short-term—its Jump upgrade plan, paying off contracts for new customers, etc.—it’s nice to see it making some long-term moves. Imagine it: a nationwide LTE network and unlimited plans. That’s a dangerous combination.