Carrier T-Mobile Low Bandwidth Deal: Good News for Current iPhones?

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
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T-Mobile has struck a deal with Verizon to get some low-frequency spectrum bandwidth, which should improve T-Mobile's signal strength issues in indoors and rural areas, if I understand this correctly.

The article linked mentions that T-Mobile will be rolling out devices capable of using these frequencies in 2014Q4 - my question would be if I switched to T-Mobile this spring (which I am considering) and got an iPhone 5S, would that phone be capable of using the lower-frequency bandwidth when it comes online?

basically, the only thing really stopping me from dropping AT&T for T-Mobile is the latter's notoriously poor performance indoors (e.g., at my office).
 

mattwallace24

macrumors regular
Nov 25, 2010
180
8
Connecticut
T-Mobile has struck a deal with Verizon to get some low-frequency spectrum bandwidth, which should improve T-Mobile's signal strength issues in indoors and rural areas, if I understand this correctly.

The article linked mentions that T-Mobile will be rolling out devices capable of using these frequencies in 2014Q4 - my question would be if I switched to T-Mobile this spring (which I am considering) and got an iPhone 5S, would that phone be capable of using the lower-frequency bandwidth when it comes online?

basically, the only thing really stopping me from dropping AT&T for T-Mobile is the latter's notoriously poor performance indoors (e.g., at my office).
It could be good IF 1) you don't mind waiting until the end of this year or even into 2015 for better building penetration (deal isn't expected to close until at least mid-year), 2) you live in a market where this spectrum could be deployed, and 3) T-Mobile's plans are derided by an acquisition by Sprint or a satellite company.
 

osofast240sx

macrumors 68030
Mar 25, 2011
2,521
1
T-Mobile has struck a deal with Verizon to get some low-frequency spectrum bandwidth, which should improve T-Mobile's signal strength issues in indoors and rural areas, if I understand this correctly.

The article linked mentions that T-Mobile will be rolling out devices capable of using these frequencies in 2014Q4 - my question would be if I switched to T-Mobile this spring (which I am considering) and got an iPhone 5S, would that phone be capable of using the lower-frequency bandwidth when it comes online?

basically, the only thing really stopping me from dropping AT&T for T-Mobile is the latter's notoriously poor performance indoors (e.g., at my office).
Lte band 13 and 17 on the iPhone 5s, 5c, rMini and Air will handle T-Mobile's new 700mhz frequency
 
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CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,377
1,139
Charlotte, NC
This new spectrum won't help much with rural coverage. If you look at the maps of spectrum licenses you will see that it mainly covers urban areas.

What it will help with is improving indoor coverage in those urban markets and also with coverage in the suburbs of those markets. It's a good step in the right direction for TMO.

Next thing they need to do is purchase some low band spectrum to cover the highways between urban areas. Once that's done, most of the coverage complaints would disappear.
 

akuma13

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2006
848
334
This would be great for any phone on T-Mobile, especially with people who have trouble with reception in buildings. I wonder how long this will take to implement?
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
597
445
It could be good IF 1) you don't mind waiting until the end of this year or even into 2015 for better building penetration (deal isn't expected to close until at least mid-year), 2) you live in a market where this spectrum could be deployed, and 3) T-Mobile's plans are derided by an acquisition by Sprint or a satellite company.
1) Well, let's just say that my indoor AT&T reception isn't great to start with. Moving temporarily from "flaky" to "very flaky" will probably be acceptable, and make "flaky" again feel like a huge improvement when the upgrade occurs. :D The article (admittedly PR) expects the deal to close mid-2014 and to deploy by the end of 2014.

2) Washington, DC, so I believe that's on the list.

3) Always a risk, but the buyer would still have the bandwidth.

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Lte band 13 and 17 on the iPhone 5s, 5c, rMini and Air will handle T-Mobile's new 700mhz frequency
Thanks!
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,211
1,163
T-Mobile has struck a deal with Verizon to get some low-frequency spectrum bandwidth, which should improve T-Mobile's signal strength issues in indoors and rural areas, if I understand this correctly.

The article linked mentions that T-Mobile will be rolling out devices capable of using these frequencies in 2014Q4 - my question would be if I switched to T-Mobile this spring (which I am considering) and got an iPhone 5S, would that phone be capable of using the lower-frequency bandwidth when it comes online?

basically, the only thing really stopping me from dropping AT&T for T-Mobile is the latter's notoriously poor performance indoors (e.g., at my office).
low-bandwidth != low-frequency
 

JackieInCo

Suspended
Jul 18, 2013
5,178
1,598
Colorado
Glad to see this includes a huge chunk of Colorado where I already have exceptional service. Can't wait to see how it improves further with this.
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
597
445
low-bandwidth != low-frequency
Yeah, I noticed my headline flub after it was too late to edit the headline.

Perhaps I should make "Type, Proofread, then Post" instead of "Type, Post, then Proofread" my new year's resolution.
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
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Yes they already have licenses there. They just have yet to use them for some reason.
My guess is that it probably wasn't cost-effective for them to add the capability for just one market area.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,211
1,163
Lte band 13 and 17 on the iPhone 5s, 5c, rMini and Air will handle T-Mobile's new 700mhz frequency
Band13 is 700Mhz C-Block
Band17 is 700MHz B-Block

This article is about 700MHz A-Block, that falls in LTE Band 12.

There is no guarantee that those handsets will support 700 ABlock. I don't think they will without firmware update. I'm not sure that is possible retroactively even if Apple even wanted to.

Consider the revised separate A1428 for TMobile, before and after TMobile launch that activated 1700/1900 HSPA+ in the chipset. It requires a new handset, and wasn't pushed in an iOS patch even though the hardware was there.

I'm not saying it's not possible. I'm just saying it would be foolish to assume Apple will/can update the current 5c&5S retroactively adding Band12 700a support.

There are no Apple products that list Band 12 compatibility.

Verizon never deployed on it, at least partially because it's on the edge of the spectrum, and is prone to interference from UHF TV broadcast.

 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,377
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Charlotte, NC
My guess is that it probably wasn't cost-effective for them to add the capability for just one market area.
Yeah that's probably the reason. I know they have a slice of 800mhz in Myrtle Beach, SC that they got when they bought Suncom, but they don't use it either since they have no 800mhz anywhere else.
 

AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,890
941


It gives them a 6x6 slice of spectrum, on which a single 5Mhz LTE carrier can be placed. VoLTE cannot be placed on this spectrum, due to issues from the Ch. 51 interference. Precisely why VZW sold it and no one else wanted it. And the A Block is Band 12. No devices support this band whatsoever. Will have to wait until TMo has started deployment. No reason to buy an iPhone 5S now.

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Band13 is 700Mhz C-Block
Band17 is 700MHz B-Block

This article is about 700MHz A-Block, that falls in LTE Band 12.

There is no guarantee that those handsets will support 700 ABlock. I don't think they will without firmware update. I'm not sure that is possible retroactively even if Apple even wanted to.

Consider the revised separate A1428 for TMobile, before and after TMobile launch that activated 1700/1900 HSPA+ in the chipset. It requires a new handset, and wasn't pushed in an iOS patch even though the hardware was there.

I'm not saying it's not possible. I'm just saying it would be foolish to assume Apple will/can update the current 5c&5S retroactively adding Band12 700a support.

There are no Apple products that list Band 12 compatibility.

Verizon never deployed on it, at least partially because it's on the edge of the spectrum, and is prone to interference from UHF TV broadcast.

Image
X2. All of this is spot-on and correct.
 
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Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
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445
Thanks for the updates. It looks like anyone wanting to take advantage of those frequencies will need to buy a device specifically made to cover them. Good to know.
 

parseckadet

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,143
665
Denver, CO
The article linked mentions that T-Mobile will be rolling out devices capable of using these frequencies in 2014Q4 - my question would be if I switched to T-Mobile this spring (which I am considering) and got an iPhone 5S, would that phone be capable of using the lower-frequency bandwidth when it comes online?

basically, the only thing really stopping me from dropping AT&T for T-Mobile is the latter's notoriously poor performance indoors (e.g., at my office).
Considering that this deal won't even close until later this year, and deployment isn't likely to even begin until 2015, I doubt this band will be useful for most T-Mobile customers until late 2015 or 2016. Given that, if you were to switch any time soon you would likely be nearing your next device upgrade (assuming you follow a two year cycle) before this channel becomes available to you anyway, so whether the 5s will support it or not is a bit of a moot point. Switching with the hopes that things will improve in the future just guarantees that you'll be disappointed. Only switch to a carrier if you're satisfied with their service as it exists today.
 

AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,890
941


Places where channel 51 interference occurs. LTE cannot be deployed unless this issue is dealt with. Another solution would be to deploy a smaller channel of LTE, but with the max already being a 5Mhz slice, it would be pretty worthless to deploy less.

It seems that USCC owns B12 in some areas and has deployed on it. But is currently refarming onto PCS and B5, due to the lack of devices and CH51 interference problems. Albeit, they do say they have fixed the problems.

http://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/...ails-absence-band-12-apples-iphone/2013-05-30

EDIT: http://www.attpublicpolicy.com/fcc/att-commits-to-interoperability-in-the-lower-700-mhz-band/

AT&T has committed to working out the kinks over 700A

Besides TMobile, the only other major owners of 700A are USCC/CSpire. This would mean that unless TMobile can buy more 700A from them or partner up, there is a significant chance that AT&T will end up buying or partnering with USCC for their 700A. USCC is a perfect fit for them due to the amount of rural LTE already deployed in the Northeast and it perfectly complements their 700B/C holdings.
 
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Apple Trees

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2013
261
0
At least they're finally doing something to address their coverage issues. Too bad this doesn't help with rural coverage. Still lots of EDGE along the interstates here in the Southeast.
 

parseckadet

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,143
665
Denver, CO
At least they're finally doing something to address their coverage issues. Too bad this doesn't help with rural coverage. Still lots of EDGE along the interstates here in the Southeast.
You do realize that this is likely a single piece to a much larger puzzle right? If they had announced a plan to improve the EDGE areas instead of this, I'm sure people would be here harping about how that wouldn't do anything to solve building penetration. There isn't a silver bullet out there that will suddenly solve all of T-Mobile's shortcomings. Take this for what it is, an indication that T-Mobile recognizes what they need to work on and a willingness to do what it takes to improve. That's more than we were getting out of them a couple of years ago.
 

Truefan31

macrumors 68040
Aug 25, 2012
3,435
721
I think if they use it for voice that'd be great. Looks like they're not done yet either buying spectrum
 
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