T-Mobile Plots Path To VoLTE And Low Frequency Airwaves For Stronger Coverage

January 10, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

T-Mobile is often criticized for having the worst network. A big portion of this is due to coverage issues that they have in certain areas, although it’s not a problem for everyone. Some customers get excellent coverage with the network and are able to obtain high speeds of web access that rival even that of Verizons, believe it or not. Still, that’s a smaller portion of people than it needs to be. Now that everyone is on the path to LTE, T-Mobile included, the question is where does T-Mobile go from here? While they don’t always have the strongest network, T-Mobile is aware of this fact and is committed to making the changes needed to provide an even better experience to its customers. How are they planning to do this? For starters, with the answer to the previous question.

Remember when I said where does T-Mobile go from here? According to Sascha Segan from PCMag who had an interview with T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, the answer to that lies partly in further development of their LTE network, but not exactly how you’d think, and the other part lies in the low frequency spectrum that they’re receiving from Verizon, as part of the deal they made to swap spectrum. T-Mobiles plan to develop more on LTE this time around comes in the way of VoLTE, or Voice Over LTE which basically will allow its customers to make calls, while still locked on to the towers with an LTE connection. Currently this isn’t the way that it works. When customers make calls, what happens if the customer is connected to LTE is they quickly get disconnected and reconnected to 2G/Edge to make the call. When the call is finished they reconnect back to LTE. This wouldn’t seem like a huge problem except for the fact that T-Mobile could use those old 2G towers and repurpose them for the current LTE network if they weren’t in use. That’s where being able to make calls over LTE comes in, and they would be able to shut down all those 2G towers, and help strengthen their LTE network with the spectrum they get back.

The second part to T-Mobile making the network and it’s coverage better for customers, as I stated above, lies in the Low-Frequency Spectrum that they will be receiving from Verizon. The way things work now is that T-Mobile has tons of High Frequency Spectrum, which is really good for the speeds of the network, but as anyone who will tell you that may have tried to use their service in the backs of large grocery stores or buildings, it’s not great for coverage. This is because High Frequency waves don’t penetrate walls as well and they travel a shorter distance. Low-Frequency waves on the other hand are much better at this, as they travel a lot further, which is where a lot of strength in Verizon’s network comes from. Verizon has plenty of Low Frequency Spectrum they were willing to trade for Higher Frequency Spectrum which is what T-Mobile needs to better the network for it’s customers. In short, Low Frequency waves will require T-Mobile to use fewer towers, while still traveling a further distance and enter buildings better, all for a lower cost. This plan is slated to roll out later this year, and with all these changes T-Mobile is going to be making their coverage , better, faster, stronger. Do any of you out there use T-Mobile? If so what do you think about these changes T-Mobile will be making to their network? Let us know in the comments.