T-Mobile USA investing $4B to deploy 4G LTE in U.S., P.R.
T-Mobile USA unveiled plans Thursday to spend $4 billion — almost the same amount it collected from the failed merger with AT&T last year — to modernize its network through the deployment of 4G Long-Term Evolution technology nationwide and in Puerto Rico in 2013.
Once completed, the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier hopes that through a combination of faster speeds and a broader variety of LTE-capable devices, it will be able to put a plug on the customer drain it has experienced in the last year.
T-Mobile USA lost 1.65 million contract subscribers in 2011, half of that in the final quarter alone when Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. started carrying Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4S, Bloomberg reported.
The carrier’s strategy calls for installing new transmission equipment in its 37,000 cell towers and “re-farming” the additional spectrum T-Mobile will receive as a result of the termination of the AT&T transaction, Jorge Martel, general manager for T-Mobile Puerto Rico, told News is my Business.
While his higher-ups did not provide specific dates as to when the network modernization will begin, Martel expressed confidence that “Puerto Rico will probably be among the first markets” where the upgrades will take place.
“Right now, the HSPA+ network we’ve deployed in Puerto Rico is about the best there is to offer,” he said. “We’re almost finished with our network conversion to HSPA+42, with just the central portion of the island remaining to be done. We’re also always considering the possibility of continuing to expand our network in general.”
Since October 2010, T-Mobile has pumped $75 million into islandwide network improvements.
This year’s planned investment figure was not readily available Thursday, but the executive said the carrier will maintain its “accelerated investment rhythm this year, and Puerto Rico remains one of the markets where T-Mobile invests the most.”
Meanwhile, Martel said the timing for T-Mobile’s planned 4G LTE launching in a year or so “will be ideal because there will be a greater variety of LTE-ready devices than there are now, which will definitely benefit consumers.”
The announcement by T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telecom, is a complete turnaround from the stern warning issued last year that it would not be spending any more money on its stateside operation as it pursued selling those assets to rival AT&T.
But the plan now is to reposition the company and make it more competitive by making it able to offer higher-speed services to keep up with growing consumer demand for smartphones and tablet computers.
“The $4 billion go-it-alone investment plan is an extremely strong one that can reposition the brand and the business,” Neville Ray, T-Mobile USA’s chief technology officer, said in an interview cited by Bloomberg.
Coupled with the announced network overhaul plans, T-Mobile added another smartphone to its portfolio, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G. T-Mobile’s newest 4G smartphone offers a variety of features and applications to help consumers be entertained and have access to the information they need when they need it.
The handset brings a slew of pre-installed features that coupled with its SnapdragonS3 processor by Qualcommwith 1.5 GHz dual-core CPUs and 3.97-inch Super AMOLED touch screen, makes “it easy for consumers to enjoy the benefits of 4G experiences at a price they can afford,” said Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president, marketing, T-Mobile USA.