T-Mobile US has revealed that it will upgrade its 2.5G EDGE network to Long Term Evolution (LTE) almost completely by the middle of 2015, as part of a wider effort to expand its 4G coverage footprint. The cellco plans to complete 50% of the work on its overhaul this year, and expects the upgrade programme to be ‘substantially complete’ by the middle of 2015. Although T-Mobile is upgrading its EDGE network, the carrier confirmed to FierceWireless that it would leave a portion of the network up and running for older phones and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. A spokesperson noted: ‘We currently have 2G in our PCS band and some of it will be refarmed for 4G LTE. There will still be sufficient bandwidth to support 2G traffic and it will not affect current users of 2G or M2M customers’. The strategy sets T-Mobile apart from AT&T Mobility, which has said its plans to shut down its 2G network by 2017.
In addition, the press release notes that T-Mobile plans to begin deploying LTE this year using the new 700MHz A-block spectrum that the company is in the process of acquiring from Verizon Wireless. No time frame has been given for the commercial launch.