T-Mobile is the smallest national US carrier, and it was also the last to announce a cogent strategy for the deployment of 4G LTE. Yes, after years of insisting to no end that HSPA+ is 4G, the magenta carrier is rolling out LTE. As part of that move, new phones are going to be needed. The first device designed for T-Mobile's LTE is a revamped version of the popular Samsung Galaxy S III.


T-Mobile has not yet said when the updated S III will arrive, but it will likely replace the HSPA+ GS3 in the carrier's lineup. Most of T-Mobile's phones have no support for LTE, thus the new version of Samsung's flagship. It's worth noting that the recently released Galaxy Note II on T-Mobile does have a functional LTE radio. It probably stayed enabled with the LTE rollout in mind.

Some comments made in an investor call today insinuate that the first cities could be seeing T-Mobile's LTE this month. A larger rollout is probably still months away, but this is still huge for T-Mobile customers. T-Mobile plans to deploy LTE on the AWS bands currently used by its HSPA+ towers.  This is only possible because of the additional AWS spectrum it received when the AT&T merger fell apart, but T-Mobile got some juicy 1900MHz space too. The 1900MHz band will be used to beef up HSPA+ (and allow iPhones to run on Tmo) as the LTE rollout happens.

[The Verge, Tmo News]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Drizzy-Rojas/100000186636833 Alexander Drizzy Rojas

    IPhones and Nexus devices for more signal :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202836 Hovannes Abramyan

    Hopefully this means my Nexus 4 will be able to connect to LTE in Los Angeles.

    • http://twitter.com/Xeratun Xeratun

      Nope. Nobody in the US uses that band for LTE. AT&T owns it, but it isn't used for LTE. So no chance of that happening as long as the Nexus 4 is relevant.

      • geeko

        Although as reported elsewhere, if tmo uses AWS ( they do own band 4) , the nexus could possibly support it, as is the case of Rogers in Canada.

      • RyanWhitwam

        As I said in the post, T-Mobile is using AWS (band 4) for LTE. So the Nexus 4 should work like it does in Canada (this makes logical sense, but for all I know there is something I'm not considering). AT&T does have AWS holdings, but had to cough some of that up to Tmo when the merger fell through.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202836 Hovannes Abramyan

          Thanks, that's what I was thinking as well.

        • http://twitter.com/Xeratun Xeratun

          Ah, my bad. I didn't realize that AWS==Band 4. I thought only AT&T had it accordion to prior posts, but I guess that's the stuff TMo got from them. Good to know.

  • g0vt_h00ker

    T mobile isn't the smallest US carrier...?

    • Paul

      The smallest of the "big 4" there are a bunch of smaller carriers in various regions. Like MetroPCS for instance. Boost/Cricket/Virgin/U.S Cellular. Some of those of MVNO's but a few of them have their own towers.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        I had the same reaction the moment I read it. T-Mobile isn't the smallest US carrier, they are not even the smallest carrier rocking their own towers; I think that's US Cellular. Of course, US Cellular even beat T-Mobile to launching LTE, which is a bit belittling.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Smallest national carrier.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            Good correction

        • aiden9

          CDMA carriers had a greater incentive as CDMA had topped out at 2.5G. Where as GSM still had room to grow and wait for LTE to mature. Ultimately the delay in LTE deployment may work to T-mobile's advantage as they'll enter the areana with LTE Release 10 which will help them a ton especially with the spectrum T-mobile has.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            Coming to the game late will probably cost them a bit less in deployment, but I think they lost customers and became a bit of a whipping boy to the tech media by being so late.

            You're right, CDMA carriers did have more incentive to rush ahead, but I think it had everything to do with the inability to have calling and data at the same time. That became a major advertising point for AT&T and T-Mobile during the iPhone 4 launch on Verizon which really brought that flaw to the limelight.

  • Paul

    I wonder why T-Mobile is even messing around with HSPA+ on 1900mhz. Why offer compatibility to AT&T phones, maybe they just want better international compatibility. But it seems like T-Mobile is in the process of a major revamp of all their frequencies.

    • dude

      Why not?

    • aiden9

      Probably as a way to lure AT&T customers over. At the moment T-mobile offers some good sim card only contracts/prepaid deals. They already get a significant number of people coming over with AT&T phones even if people are stuck on edge. Can only imagine what they'd get with usable speeds.

    • Freak4Dell

      With their transition to only Value plans, they're a lot better off making as many phones compatible with their network as possible. There's a lot of people who won't want to pay full price for a phone from T-Mobile, but when they realize that they can get AT&T phones on eBay (or use the phones they already have if they're currently with AT&T) and use those on T-Mobile, they'll switch over.

  • http://twitter.com/Sonnofah The Pheals

    and i just bought my sg3 a week ago.... thanks tmobile -__-

    • farfromovin

      Take that sg3 back and return it for a new one with LTE support!

      • http://twitter.com/Sonnofah The Pheals

        but i would have to pay for the difference right?

        • J.D.

          No its the same n even so with a good argument they would most likely wave it. Just get ur ass down there within 15 days of purchase

  • heatfan

    I am super mad that they screwed us S3 owners over. They put LTE radios on the Note 2. Why not the S3?

    • http://twitter.com/MysteryMannnnn Mystery Man

      Note II came out in October/November S3 came out in May/June

      • heatfan

        Still doesn't excuse their inconsistency.

        • Dan

          Nerdrage doesn't excuse your stupidity. Do you honestly expect anyone to care when you complain because a company doesn't fire up the time machine and warp LTE features back in time 6 months for your phone?

          Grow up and face reality. No matter what you buy, it will be 2nd best (if you're lucky) in 6 months. It will have been superseded by something cooler/better/faster/lighter with almost the same name after 12 months. It will be roughly equivalent to the phones that are selling off-contract for $200 after 18 months. Big freakin' deal.

        • Angel Demirev

          The LTE variant of the S3 doesn't support DC-HSPA, which is what allows you to use T-Mobile's 42Mbps network.

          It's your choice what to buy, especially on T-Mobile with no subsidies. The international version and T-Mobile version are the same cost..it's just a matter of what you want on the device. Would it be better to have an LTE capable device that doesn't support DC-HSPA? Not for me :)

  • yarrellray

    I figure by June here in New York City LTE advanced 10 should hit and me and my Galaxy Note 2 will be enjoying some wonderful LTE. People better be getting use to hearing from T-mobile very often in 2013 they are making MAJOR MOVES...Don't hate appreciate.....

  • http://twitter.com/futuremonkey Pope Ron Polyp II

    I'm sure the LTE rollout will be totally trouble-free and everyone who bandwagon-jumps early will be simply delighted in every way, beyond their wildest dreams.

  • Rob Gee

    So now I have to go buy the same phone I already have (S3) just to have LTE? Are you serious! They should let us swap them out since this is their bad! Right?!
    What do you guys think?

    • Marco Mendoza

      I'm sure you won't get lte in your area anyway it be about a year before they have good lte coverage so then you can just get the samsung s4 or even the s5

  • emjeezy

    I just got mine on new years eve...does this meanni need to take it back to get a new one?

    • Matthew Fry

      Need? No. Should? Yes.

  • leo Finn

    Technical the nexus 4 has late radio.

  • Matthew Fry

    Any word on the debut cities?

  • dsass600

    If Google buys them then I'm going.

  • Roger Whitfield

    Ok I have a note 2 bought it in November so I'm good for the LTE? When it rolls out?

  • Roger Whitfield

    I bought my note 2 in November so I'm good for the LTE when it rolls out?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ForbiddenPlastic Joshua Austin

    I just spoke to the T-Mobile tech specialist when I called customer care. She said that because of what is listed under network mode (Settings, more settings, network mode), the current GS3 model is also compatible with the upcoming LTE network!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jr.cardenas.p Jr Cardenas

    I think the S3 is already supporting lte. I just got mine yesterday and Lte is listed as one of the options for the network mode.

  • HtcOneSLte

    Are thy gonna put it one the one s cuz I love it and I'm not changing my phoen?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ajac09 Anthony Evans Jr

    note 2's and gs3's all will be automatically upgraded to use tmobile lte on launch day

  • shoesty com

    you right heatfan , I have t mobil galaxy note 2 but I feel your pain. They know they will launch 4G LTE they should have the galaxy s 3 4g lte Capable . Anyone know if Galaxy note 2 prepaid will have LTE? shoesty com

  • http://www.facebook.com/amoeba15 Leah Wilhelm

    So, I just received a Galaxy S III from T-mobile (I have the Monthly 4G prepaid service) that I ordered on the 10th. In settings under Mobile networks it says: "Network mode: LTE/GSM/WCDMA (Auto Mode)".

  • RV

    did anyone noticed after 4.1.1 jelly bean update go to mobile networks you'll see LTE/ GSM/ WCDMA.

  • yash

    I got iphone 5 from att so if imma unlock it and put t mobile sim cart I'll have lte or no???