T-Mobile skips 84Mbps upgrade for LTE future

Last week T-Mobile finally announced its plants to upgrade its network to long-term evolution (LTE) speeds, now that the possibility of being acquired by AT&T is off the table for good. The LTE portions of T-Mobile network won't be online until next year at the earliest, but in the meantime the company had planned to upgrade all of its HSPA+ towers to a mind-boggling 84 megabits per second. Alas, that's no longer the case – due to the intense cost and preparations needed for the LTE network, T-Mobile's "4G" HSPA+ network won't get above 42MBps maximum.

LTE rollouts are no easy matter – Verizon's is the largest in the country, but even they can't seem to get outside city limits in most cases. AT&T's LTE network is still in its infancy, and though they're adding new devices and markets all the time, they've still got a lot of work to do. The lower half of America's "big four" is stuck playing catch up, and in T-Mobile's case, a year spent on the sidelines waiting for a merger that never happened didn't help in the slightest.

That said, it's good to see that all four major networks – plus a few regional carriers like US Cellular – are adopting the LTE standard. Not only does that mean faster data speeds for everyone (eventually) it also means that they'll be more compatible with carriers worldwide, making roaming and moving between devices less of a hassle. That's not much compfort to T-Mobile customers in the meantime but it does mean that they're planning to be around for a while – which is more than you could say for them a few months ago.

[via The Verge]