One of the biggest complaints that many users have about T-Mobile is their network. It’s mostly to do with coverage (even though the 700MHz spectrum they’ve been buying lately has increased their coverage quite a bit), but also speeds in some areas. This is partly due to the fact that the Un-carrier is adding a ton of customers, which results in more congestion and slower speeds in busier areas. T-Mobile knows this and has steadily been working on their existing LTE network to make it faster, and add more capacity. Today, they put out a new press release detailing some of the new technology they are using, and also talk about Verizon’s latest announcement on LTE Advanced or LTE-A.
T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer, Neville Ray detailed in his post that T-Mobile is the first “to introduce new technology that delivers a massive 2x speed boost to customers.” This new technology is 4×4 MIMO. For those unaware, MIMO stands for multiple input, multiple output. And it doubles the data paths between a cell site and your smartphone. In layman’s terms, what this means is that adding double the paths means double the speed than you had before. Ray also noted that this technology is already available 319 cities across the country. However, the catch here is that only users with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will be able to use 4×4 MIMO for now. Even then, those users won’t be able to use it until a software update hits their device later this month.
The Un-carrier is also launching 256 QAM for downloads and 64 QAM for uploads. Basically what this does is it increases the number of bits that are delivered per transmission. Giving customers even faster speeds. Ray notes that 256 QAM and 64 QAM are already live in about half of their network. But by the end of October, it’ll be available on every cell site across the nation. Again, this technology also only works with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
Ray rounds out the press release noting that they have already launched seven LTE Advanced technologies and that’s “more than anyone else in the industry.” Ray also makes note of Verizon’s recent announcement that they have made speeds 50% faster for their customers, and saying that their network is still slower than T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network. T-Mobile is getting this information from crowdsourced reports from Ookla and OpenSignal.