US round-up: T-Mobile LTE coverage reaches 230m people; AT&T expands 4G footprint; MVNO Solavei files for bankruptcy

1 Jul 2014

T-Mobile US has announced that it has reached its previously-stated Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage target, and now offers 4G technology to 230 million Americans. The target, which was outlined by Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s chief technology officer, in a blog post last month, has now been confirmed by the company’s flamboyant CEO John Legere on Twitter. In a typically combative Tweet, Legere announced: ‘Neville confirmed we hit 230M POPs of LTE! Met our goal but still going! Where you at @Sprint? I hear you’re running behind. #sprintlikehell’. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Sprint and T-Mobile are working towards a USD32 billion so-called ‘mega-merger’; Legere has been tipped to lead the enlarged company if the deal receives regulatory approval.

Elsewhere, AT&T Mobility has introduced LTE technology in a handful of new markets, including: Anniston-Oxford and Gadsden (Alabama), Bogalusa (Louisiana), Olean (New York), Greenville (Ohio) and Fredericksburg (Texas). The mobile giant currently claims 99% 4G population coverage.

Solavei, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that piggybacks on T-Mobile US’s network, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, which launched in late-2012, expects to operate normally while it restructures, and hopes to exit bankruptcy later this year. CEO Ryan Wuerch told Fierce Wireless: ‘We’re actually doing far better than we anticipated. We’ve had very little attrition.’ As of 31 May the MVNO counted 101,500 customers, down from a peak of 250,000.

United States, T-Mobile US (inc. MetroPCS), AT&T Mobility, Solavei (MVNO),

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