T-Mobile plans to release 10 LTE devices in 2013, updating its network to become a better candidate for the iPhone.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based carrier said it would launch its LTE service in 50 different markets by the end of next year. In addition, T-Mobile plans to improve its HSPA+ technology to allow the iPhone 4S and future devices from Apple to achieve greater data speeds while operating on its network.
T-Mobile’s 4G network will be compatible with a broad range of devices, according to chief technical officer Neville Ray. The carrier is missing out on some of the best phones manufacturers have to offer because it cannot give their devices the highest possible data speeds, making an LTE network a tremendous help to the company.
A high-speed network for T-Mobile, rolled out by 2013, will help level the playing field with competitors, once again making T-Mobile a practical landing spot for top-of-the-line devices and helping it bounce back from a failed acquisition attempt by AT&T.
The biggest victory T-Mobile could achieve from upgrading its network is the ability to offer the iPhone. The carrier has stated its desire to carry the device, but analysts believe the iPhone maker has passed on the company because of its poor data speeds. Apple would have little reason not to let T-Mobile have the iPhone if the carrier performs all the necessary upgrades to its data service.
One big question that remains for T-Mobile is whether it can convince Apple to let it carry the new iPhone when it launches later this year, with the promise of network improvements in 2013. T-Mobile lost more than 800,000 customers last quarter as subscribers continued to jump ship when the iPhone 4S launched on every other major carrier in the U.S.
T-Mobile can avoid more subscriber losses if it launches the new iPhone on its network later this year, but if it doesn’t, the carrier will likely be in an even deeper hole.
T-Mobile will likely benefit from the upgrades its planning to its network in 2013, but if the changes can help deliver the carrier the iPhone this year, it could make 2012 a resounding success as well.