Sometimes Long-Term Evolution wireless is presented as the future of mobile, and the answer to network incompatibility. That's half true. While LTE and GSM tend to play nice (or at least nicer than the entirely disparate GSM and CDMA standards) the bands and frequencies used for high-speed wireless access vary pretty widely in different countries, or here in the US, across different networks. Chip OEM Qualcomm is hoping to banish network anxiety with a new family of LTE radios, christened RF360.
Quick note, LG Viper owners: If you're getting an update request this afternoon, don't get too excited. The newest software addition isn't any flavor of Jelly Bean. It's just a small update that addresses "LTE network acquisition improvements", which probably means it'll help you when transitioning from Sprint's old and busted 3G network to the new LTE hotness.
- LTE network acquisition improvements
Check your Settings menu, then System Update to get the latest download.
Claiming the title of the first MSM8660-packing devices to get CyanogenMod 10.1 nightlies, LG's Optimus LTE and Nitro HD (su640 and p930) joined the lineup today.
In a post to Google+, CyanogenMod is sure to note that the introduction of the Nitro HD and Optimus LTE does not necessarily indicate the imminent support of other devices that use Qualcomm's MSM8660 chip. "What it does mean," the post goes on, "is that the first hurdle towards more devices has been achieved."
That said, the nightlies are still great news for Nitro HD/Optimus LTE owners who have been hankering for an AOSP-inspired Android 4.2 experience with the full CyanogenMod treatment.
Better late than never, I suppose. Today Sprint announced that it's bringing new LTE service to Boston and Framingham, Mass., Austin and Bryan-College Station, TX, Fort Wayne, IN, and Western Puerto Rico. The latter is actually not the first round of 4G coverage for the territory, as PR has had coverage in a few southern cities for a while. Additionally, the carrier improved its 3G services throughout the entire island.
It's a good start for 2013 as Sprint continues its Network Vision plan, which should only ramp up this year as a variety of deals—including the Softbank acquisition, the Clearwire buyout, and spectrum purchases—finalize.
AT&T has a problem on its hands. It's big, but is it big enough? If you're a CEO of a major corporation the answer to that question is always "no." However, the carrier has difficulty expanding on the home front. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens have phones with one carrier or another, so there's very little wiggle room to grab new customers. And gaining in market share when you (and all your competitors!) are dead set on locking people into two-year contracts is very difficult.
Have you heard that T-Mobile is working on an LTE network? It's true. According to an interview with the carrier's USA EVP and CTO Neville Ray over on FierceWireless, the company is "days away" from flipping the switch on its new towers. The initial rollout will take place in Las Vegas (where T-Mo had hoped to debut in time for CES, but was delayed), followed closely by Kansas City.
Thinking about switching to a prepaid carrier? As the fifth-largest U.S. cellular provider, MetroPCS should certainly be on your list (at least if you live in an urban area). Today they've shuffled up their tiered service plans, adding in some more full-speed data at the lower tiers and consolidating the highest tier into a single plan. For those of you who want the genuine article, don't worry: the $60 plan remains, with real unlimited 4G LTE data.
If you're a Verizon customer in an area that has yet to receive its share of the company's expansive LTE network, then every month's "new LTE list" is probably a nail-biter for you. Good news, though – you'll be covered by the end of 2013, according to a new post on Big Red's blog.
In its current state, Verizon's 4G LTE network covers an impressive 473 markets, which reaches roughly 273.5 million users.
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.
Break out the popcorn, folks, it's time for some corporate drama. As we reported last month, LTE service provider Clearwire is looking to sell itself, with 50% stake holder Sprint Nextel the obvious choice. But while Sprint's $2.2 billion offer (plus another $800 million in staggered investments) sits on the desks of both Clearwire shareholders and the Federal Trade Commission for approval, satellite TV provider Dish Network has made another offer.