February 23, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
T-Mobile USA is the fourth-placed carrier in the US, and it’s fortunes are only getting worse with each passing quarter. The company announced today that it lost a net 802,000 contract subscribers in Q4 2011, further putting the company behind No. 3 carrier, Sprint. T-Mobile is the only major U.S. carrier that doesn’t carry the iPhone or offer an LTE network. Later this year, at least one of those shortcomings will be addressed.
T-Mobile announced today that it will launch an LTE network beginning in 2013. Using the $4 billion cash and spectrum package gained from AT&T’s failed attempt to purchase the company, T-Mobile will finally be able to offer LTE service to subscribers. Verizon was first to offer the faster speeds that LTE offers, followed by the still-growing AT&T, and soon-to-launch network from Sprint.
Much has been said over the past two years about the validity of 4G claims because of the different technologies employed by each company (HSPA+, LTE, and WiMax), but LTE will be the standard platform for which 4G networks are judged going forward. T-Mobile USA CTO Neville Ray admitted as much when he said
“Today, we operate America’s Largest 4G Network delivering a fast and reliable 4G data experience with HSPA+. Launching LTE next year lets us take advantage of technology infrastructure advancements and benefit from a more mature LTE device ecosystem while continuing to meet the growing demand for data with a powerful 4G experience.”
About 50 of the top markets in the U.S. will see LTE service when T-Mobile launches the network next year. The carrier will be far behind AT&T and Verizon, and Sprint, but LTE will be a necessary step long-term for T-Mobile to not trail so far behind in terms of customers as well.