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T-Mobile’s iPhone-friendly network overhaul: 2 cities down, 227 to go

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T-Mobile’s network overhaul may not be going as quickly as some unlocked iPhone owners may have hoped, but it is happening. On Monday, T-Mobile said in a blog post that it has successfully retuned its 3G network in Kansas City to the 1900 MHz PCS band, which just happens to make it compatible with all generations of the iPhone(s aapl).

KC is only the second city T-Mobile has officially announced as upgraded – Las Vegas was the first – but there has been a lot of activity going on behind the scenes since T-Mo started this process in the summer. Website is keeping a tally of HSPA+ sightings in T-Mobile’s PCS frequencies. The submissions are all unverified, but the map shows activity in dozens of cities from Boston to Los Angeles.

T-Mobile isn’t selling the iPhone, of course, but the carrier has always aggressively recruited iPhone owners to its SIM-card plans. T-Mobile claims to have more than 1 million customers on such bring-your-own-iPhone plans. The problem was, until now, it wasn’t able to offer those customers anything beyond 2G data speeds due to the incompatibility of the iPhone’s 3G radios with the T-Mobile network. With the network overhaul, that all changes.

T-Mobile expects to complete the relocation of its HSPA+ network – which T-Mobile refers to as 4G – in its entire 229-market footprint by mid-2013. After that it will build an LTE network in the spectrum HSPA+ vacated. At that point, T-Mobile also hopes to have closed its merger with MetroPCS(s pcs), which will give its sizable hunks of new 4G bandwidth in key cities like New York and San Francisco. By the time the overhaul is complete in 2014, T-Mobile’s networks will by in synch with those of the other major North American operators, and hopefully that spells the end of T-Mobile’s long incompatibility with Apple devices.

15 Responses to “T-Mobile’s iPhone-friendly network overhaul: 2 cities down, 227 to go”

  1. Anthony Koyer

    Getting 3G all over the place in Chicago starting this past Thanksgiving weekend! Now question is, will it show 4G at some point, or will it ALWAYS show 3G and give me 4G speeds? Just curious.

    • Kevin Fitchard

      Hey Anthony, is this on the iPhone? Unless its an iPhone 5, I believe it will always show 3G even if you’re linked to the HSPA+ network. Apple doesn’t only defines 4G as an LTE network, though T-Mobile’s network can hit some near LTE speeds.

  2. I got T-Mobile 3G signal on my iPhone 3GS this afternoon at the intersection of 95N and 93S, in Woburn, MA. The signal lasted for about 6 seconds. I will be around Woburn again this evening.

  3. Metro Detroit has patchy 3G now as well. I first started noticing it a little over a week ago. Sometimes service will quickly go from 3G to no service then back to Edge as I drive about, but just knowing theyre working on it here is encouraging. News reports ive read suggest the reframing for iphone compatibility (not 4G generally) is due to be completed by December 2012.

  4. Craig Campbell

    Their 1900MHz HSPA+ is up and running in patches in the Chicago northwest suburbs. The site serving my apartment fired up last week and seems to be up permanently. At work, I have great outdoor coverage, but in building my phone flips back and forth between HSPA+ and EDGE. International Galaxy Note II.

      • Craig Campbell

        I’m certainly hoping so! I see a bunch of sightings on airportal around O’Hare airport. I’ll be there later in the week – excited to see if they have the coverage there or not – it would certainly make sense to trial at such a major airport.

  5. Your sources are terrible. Please do more research before you write minimalizing articles. Go get your iPhone unlocked, get a SIM and you will be amazed how much better your phone works on the TMO network for data in many more markets yhsn just two. Oh, we do sell thr iPhone. Just call a B2B rep and they’ll st you straight.