Beginning today, T-Mobile will provide a major software update to Samsung Galaxy Note 2 subscribers that supports its future 4G LTE network. The carrier also confirmed that the first of its LTE service regions will go live by the end of this month.
This is good news for many reasons, primarily because it confirms T-Mobile's commitment to bring 4G LTE coverage to its customers. Until now this big infrastructure revamp was merely the stuff of rumors and vague statements from the carrier. During a recent meeting I had with T-Mobile execs, however, the carrier said it expects to flip the switch on 4G LTE to match availability of its BlackBerry Z10 handsets -- in other words, by the end of the month.
Galaxy Note 2 owners will find reason to cheer here as well since this upgrade, called a maintenance release (MR), enables all the speed a fast 4G LTE has in its tool kit. Since the fresh software will take a few weeks to hit all deployed Note 2 phones, T-Mobile's LTE timing makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately T-Mobile is still tight-lipped about exactly where its LTE network will arrive first.
No matter where TMO LTE pops up initially, it's certainly in T-Mobile's interest to supply a fatter wireless data pipe since loyal subscribers could easily be tempted by the LTE offerings of competing networks such as AT&T and Verizon.
But what kind of throughput experience can you expect on a T-Mobile LTE handset? Judging from the download speeds I observed in my meeting with T-Mobile brass, potentially a very zippy one. I personally clocked download speeds in excess of 60 Mbps while uploads pushed through at an impressive 15 Mbps or more.
That's downright screaming, though to be clear, this is more a demonstration of theoretical performance since I was the only surfer on a closed LTE tower T-Mobile fired up solely for these meetings in New York. Real-world tests no doubt should be much more down to earth. Let's hope when and if T-Mobile LTE officially comes to my and your neck of the woods, 4G speeds will be this exhilarating.