T-Mobile plans to upgrade all customers on 2G/EDGE to 4G LTE; defends network in new ad campaign [VIDEO]


The uncarrier has done it again, folks. On the company’s 1-year anniversary since launching their 4G LTE network, Magenta has announced plans to bring everyone still on 2G/EDGE up to 4G LTE. T-Mobile says 50% of the upgrades will be completed by year’s end, while the project should be “substantially complete” by the middle of 2015.


More than that, T-Mobile is also expecting to begin work on loading up their new 700MHz A-block spectrum with 4G LTE once their acquisition of the spectrum is complete. T-Mobile’s work on catching up with the big boys has been impressive enough, with the company able to get 210 million customers in over 270 markets lit up with the super fast data in under a year.

T-Mobile’s also looking to “fight back” against claims that their network isn’t up to par with the big boys. They’ve announced a new marketing campaign that will serve to educate customers on just how strong their network is.


They specifically called out Verizon’s catchy, humorous ads of asking street-walking consumers what they thought each coverage map of competing carriers looked like. Answers in those ads range from “it looks like a duck” to “some sort of finger painting,” before those customers eventually come to Verizon’s coverage map and confidently point out that it’s a map of the United States.

T-Mobile has boldly requested a cease and desist from Verizon, but not before letting loose their own ad that began running on TV last night. You can view that ad in the YouTube embed above.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. T-Mobile may have just won me back. This is exactly what they need, to upgrade and expand their entire network, not just major metro areas.

    1. correct, but major metro areas have to come first, those areas will generate the revenue needed to expand

      1. Oh, that’s absolutely the proper way to roll out a network. Their problem was that these areas hit LTE while large swaths of their network were still on 2G/Edge. That’s really leaving people behind by two generations at least. I understand the money may not have been there, but it sure did make them look bad.

        1. I’m sure they didn’t really care all that much since the users in the metropolitan regions are the ones who are lining their pockets.

  2. Great news, been with them for over 7 years now

  3. Wonder if this means they’ll also have HSPA+ on these upgraded sites, for those of us that like to make phone calls and surf at the same time.

    1. Voice over LTE is the next area everyone is moving to, so hopefully that launches soon, as it’s not ideal to install 3g/HSPA+ anymore for cost/bandwidth reasons.

  4. Yeah well they still block Google Wallet so they’re as dead as dirt to me now.

    1. I thought that as well with my Note 3 but apparently kitkat doens’t support the NFC chip found in the Note 3. The Sprint version has a different NFC chip and it’s why it’s the only version that supports Google Wallet. I believe the S4 on T-mobile does support tap and pay. There’s a thread over at xda, believe me i had a nuclear meltdown when I updated to kitkat and there was no google wallet support.

      1. It doesn’t have anything to do with the NFC chip or KitKat. Sprint isn’t on board with Isis so they let GW work. Tmo is one of the Isis partners and therefore asks for GW to be locked out in their firmware.

        1. Wait, what!? Explain this!? Is Google Wallet not supposed to work on Tmo firmware?

          1. Wallet works, tap to pay does not. At least, not that I’ve experienced so far.

        2. That’s half it… In KitKat, GW works just fine even on ISIS partners. I pay for lunch with Wallet on my stock T-Mobile One at least once a week.

          Physical secure element chips are locked out by T-Mo/VZW/AT&T. Why? Google wouldn’t let them in on the API to use with ISIS.

          So in KitKat, Google added an API for software secure elements called HCE. ISIS can use it, Wallet can use it, and since it doesn’t rely on the secure element hardware (only the NFC chip), the API was supposedly easier/faster to get done, and will work on more phones. (like the non-Sprint One)

          1. So how did you get it to work so you could use Wallet to pay with a Tmo phone? My app tells me it’s not available.

          2. I’m on the HTC One. I finished the KitKat upgrade, then opened Wallet. Done.

            Like someone else mentioned, there are NFC chips that don’t work with the HCE API yet.

        3. Wrong. The reason it doesn’t work on the Note 3 is because they’re using an NXP chipset (except the Sprint one) for NFC on it which isn’t compatible with Tap and Pay at the moment.

          Apparently, there’s a fix on the way for this so that can be supported. All things considered, if all the NFC chipsets are supported, any phone with NFC should be able to use Tap and Pay via HCE in KitKat.

    2. QQ

  5. Verizon wins the “map” by covering large swaths of the US that are not as populated or populated at all. T-Mobile, AT&T, even Sprint, Focus on large populous areas first, and the underpopulated or UNpopulated areas secondarily. Not that I don’t need to drive through the middle of nowhere sometimes and still receive a call, but for most people it won’t affect daily use.

    1. Well you can get a consistent call Tmo/att 2g/edge/1g, LTE doesn’t have any effect on calling, yet.

      1. Even Tmobile’s archaic 2G network has less coverage than Verizon’s. If you dont live in the middle of a city, Tmobile is not a good choice.

        1. That’s why I didn’t just say T-Mobile, and truly amongst Tmo’s roaming partners and their native towers, I’ve had no problems making a call, personally, in all my travels around the USA, since I left at&t 5 years ago.

  6. I have remarkably fast speeds with TMO here in South Florida. Their LTE here is as fast or faster than any other company. BUT, I don’t travel for work. If I did I’d probably have to pay a lot more for AT&T and not use as much data as I do now with my unlimited plan.

  7. T-Mobile should just embrace the fact that they serve urban and even sub-urban areas first and foremost, and wrap that into their advertising. The majority of people live, work, and commute near major cities, so increasing coverage from 96% (current) to 99% in order cover the rural boonies isn’t much of a selling point, imo.

    Living in NYC, I can’t remember the last time I’ve lost 4G on T-Mobile. And the last time I saw 2G/EDGE was during a drive between Seattle and Portland.

    1. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a drop from LTE to HSPA/HSPA+ on T-Mobile in NYC/Long Island (not including during phone calls).

    2. Also NYC here, as well as Long Island…never got it dropped down yet. But they do need to “get out of town”a bit more. When traveling upstate NY they have an almost non existent 4G network. It has a way to go yet, but they have improved considerably lately.

    3. in all new york Tmobile is awesome for me

  8. They can advertise all they want, but when my phone still gets only 2G where I live, commercials don’t do any good. We’ll see if they really can upgrade all those areas or not.

  9. I’ve lived in two different towns in crowded suburban Denver (not the boonies), and the story has been the same in both… T-mobile phones can’t place or receive calls inside my house. I’m sure their coverage is great in some places, but I’m in a “Good” area on their map, and their maps are a lie.

    I’m glad I’m not on contract, because I’d be furious if I was because of their lying map of lies which are untrue and also false.

    1. Lying map of lies which are untrue and also false…. I’m confused by what you’re trying to say. :-p

      I have TMo, and they’re great at 80% of where I go. Low building penetration due to frequencies is unfortunately an integral part of their non LTE service, but I stop gap that with UMA calling, which none of the other majors have (to my knowledge)

      1. Well you see… the map of lies is made by the cartographer of deceit, where the longitude is measured by untruths, and the latitude is the crushed hopes and dreams of a thousand frustrated callers.

        Yes, wifi calling works inside my house, which is why I can stick it out with Tmo until my phone lease is down to a pay-offable level.

        My wife on the iPhone wasn’t so lucky because it doesn’t support Wifi calling. She switched to StraightTalk on the AT&T SIM and is doing much better.

  10. I must be in the 4%… T-Mobile is a dead zone for a 50 mile radius around me. :) Really wish I could switch!!

    1. how do you know dead zone for a 50 mile radius around you if you have not tried there service ?

  11. Where’s the source they are upgrading all edge to LTE?

  12. i have a hard time believing they are keeping up with their competitors in the service coverage. I have so many dead areas in and around me its ridiculous.

    1. what state you live or city? i live in New York all great in all areas

      1. I live and work in Orlando, Florida. There are so many dead spots around here its ridiculous. For instance when I get close to my house I get switched to the EDGE network and as soon as i get through my font door i love signal. I have to be on WiFi at my home as well as when I am at work to get phone signal.

        1. What part of Orlando? My friend says he gets great coverage in the downtown, Winter Park, Altamonte areas. And coverage is not bad here in Daytona.

          1. I work in Baldwin Park. Winter Park is ok. In Altamonte i have some coverage issues. I live in Winter Garden. I have bad service there as well as in Clermont.

        2. What phone are you using? Is it unlocked and not TMobile branded? Are you sure it had all of the correct bands to make the best use of TMobile or is simply a compatible phone?

          1. I am using a T-Mobile branded Moto X phone. Yes it ha all the correct bands.

  13. Have not had an issue with T-Mo here in Indy. While at the gym, near the center of a large building, Verizon’s signal (4G. 3G, Voice) was virtually invisible, there was no signal. T-Mo, perfect LTE coverage. So far I have had much better luck getting a constant, stable 4G LTE connection via T-Mo than I ever had with VZW. LTE on VZW would always fail to connect or just not connect to anything at all.

  14. That’s great news. I am in San Jose and coverage is pretty good. I am connected to LTE in bay area for the most part except for in some buildings. Coverage remains on par along I-80 to Sacramento. I can’t complaint.

    1. Why are you even going to Sacramento…. but can confirm Tmobile is awesome in the Bay Area, my work phone is Verizon and that is a POS.

  15. So, I’ll check Tmobile in 2015 when they plan to be caught up to where Verizon is now…

    1. One thing you have to remember is that VZW never had any 3G. T-mobiles 3G is actually fast. To be 3G a network must be capable of voice and data at the same time. Well until they redefined the terms for marketing reasons.

      1. Yes Verizon’s 3G data sucked for a long time. But the coverage was everywhere and the voice quality was great.

      2. Compare Tmobiles 3G coverage to Verizon’s 4G coverage. Tmobile is only useful if you live in a big city, cause that is the only place they have towers. Very poor coverage.

        1. Which coincidentally is where everyone lives!
          I live in buffalo NY, the metro does not even have 1.5 Million, that is not a big city. That is a small to medium city.

          1. “sorry; Ill have to call you back because I have tmobile and Im driving from one city to another”. Not a situation I want to be in. Lets wait to 2015 and see if Tmobile can catch up as they are so “proudly advertising”.

            Problem is, Verizon and ATT are not sitting still. Their networks will be even better in 2015, so Tmobile as very low chance of ever catching up.

          2. Tmobile covers the freeways pretty well and calls will roam on to AT&T. So while you might lose data, your hypothetical is totally crap.

            The thing is VZW can’t get any better coverage wise basically. At some point all the areas are covered. All they can do is roll out more LTE, which is the same thing AT&T and T mobile are doing.

            Either way VZW is dead to me in 1 month. My contract ends and their treatment of the Galaxy Not A Nexus means I am done with them. Plus the insane prices.

  16. Great..Now I’m going to worry about the 4 percent who aren’t covered. :/

    1. Planning on moving to rural Wyoming? ;P

  17. Tmobile coverage where it matters.

  18. This makes sense. If T-Mobile gets VoLTE working everywhere 2G is working now, they can begin shutting off the 2G network and free up the spectrum for other things.

  19. Aww, I guess EDGE areas should take priority. I’m in an HSPA+ area, so I can get LTE like speeds. LTE is about 35-40 miles away from me on T-Mo. I’m on VZW, but I’ve used a T-Mo SIM. LTE on VZW in my area is frustrating to say the least. It’s fast when it works. Most of the time it says I’m connected to LTE, but it randomly times out in web pages or Netflix or YouTube. Usually that’s a sign that it’s gonna drop LTE, but it doesn’t. I get kicked to 3G a lot (even in good service areas) though, so VZW’s LTE capacity has limits. It’s not all rosy.

    1. I would bet you get upgraded along with the 2G/Edge.

    2. That’s exactly why I left Verizon, I pay for LTE, not useless EVDO 3G! Been with T-Mobile since April 29th last year, been happy ever since!

  20. Anyone who did not see that all those maps that VZW shows were heatmaps of the US population should probably be forced to sit through some elementary school classes.

  21. Left sprint for T-Mobile in January. Never looked back

  22. So the big game changer for T-Mobile is that instead of throttling you to the edge network they throttle you to 1Mbs or even 1.2Mbs. Something low enough to discourage video streaming but high enough to use the web and stream music.

    1. Please tell me this is going to be a real thing

  23. Left Att for these guys- not going back.

  24. Which will be the first phones to support 700MHz A-block spectrum?

  25. is great. I live in San Jose area and i used to be w/ verizon left because service seemed to be getting worse and the crazy prices they started charging. I am not ever going back unless i have to and at the rate tmobile is going i bet the coverage by the end of this year will be almost the same as vzw and better than att

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