T-Mobile's LTE network goes nationwide, covers 233 cities

The company met its year-end target of covering 200 million people early and will likely end the year covering 205 million people.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray talks up the company's LTE network. Sarah Tew/CNET

T-Mobile now has a nationwide LTE network of its own.

The carrier said Wednesday that its LTE network now covers more than 200 million people in 233 metropolitan areas, exceeding its year-end target a few months early.

T-Mobile is in a neck-and-neck race with Sprint over their respective LTE coverage, with Verizon Wireless and AT&T still well ahead. But T-Mobile has been quick to address the major cities and covers 91 of the top 100 markets, something Sprint has struggled with.

With more people using their smartphones to stream video, browse the Internet, or upload photos to their social network, carriers have been keen to tout their faster 4G LTE networks. Verizon has long employed the sheer breadth of its network, which reaches further than all of its competitors, but AT&T has recently touted its network as the fastest and most reliable in the country.

Citing a study by Speedtest.net, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said on Wednesday just narrowly missed beating AT&T for fastest network in the country, saying its network topped AT&T in 10 of the top 20 markets. He added boasted that the network is most reliable, using the metric that it most consistently delivers at least 6 megabits per second with its network.

The carriers have all begun utilizing different studies to boast their claims. Verizon, for instance, still claims to be the most reliable network based on a different study.

Still, T-Mobile got its network up and running in an impressive amount of time. Sprint and has been at its LTE deployment longer, and as of last month had 185 markets covered with LTE.

Why Sprint is taking its sweet time with 4G LTE

T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray cited the fiber infrastructure the company had put in place early on, as well as newer equipment, for reasons why the company was able to work so quickly to put up the network.

Ray doesn't yet have a new target, and it doesn't look like T-Mobile will be pushing to reach the 500-plus market benchmark that Verizon has reached. He said that the company would end the year covering 205 million people and reach 225 million to 230 million by the end of its current plan.

The plan is for T-Mobile to focus on increasing the density of its existing network, as well as to employ the spectrum it has gained from the MetroPCS acquisition. The idea is that the higher density network and extra spectrum will yield a faster connection.

Legere said it was only a matter of time before T-Mobile takes the speed crown, citing the additional spectrum capacity and plans for next year.

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About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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