Verizon recently launched advanced LTE coverage in more than 460 cities, but T-Mobile’s chief technology officer says he’s “cracking up” over that as his own company prepares to push a 2x speed boost to some of its customers.
T-Mobile’s own LTE-A coverage already reaches about 425 cities, but the CTO Neville Ray says the tech is so 2014. He boasts that his company will be the first wireless carrier in the US to employ 4×4 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output). MIMO’s doubling of pathways will double the speeds of select LTE-A customers on T-Mobile’s network.
The tech infrastructure has already been rolled out in 315 cities around the country, but device support for it will arrive in the form of an October update. However, the update is only schedule for Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets. Magenta says they will support more devices “soon.”
MIMO is only one swing in a two-punch combo T-Mobile has planned for enhancing its network. The second punch is QAM, which sounds right at home in an old episode of Batman. QAM, (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), boosts the bits transmitted in uploads and downloads.
T-Mobile will use 256 QAM for uploads and 64 QAM for downloads. Like MIMO, T-Mobile plans a major QAM update next month, and it’ll arrive first for Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets.
Late last month, Verizon rolled out LTE-A in 461 cities and delivered support 39 devices. The update appeared to be wholly on the back end of the network, so subscribers weren’t required to download anything to start using the upgraded tech. However, Verizon’s LTE-A update only claims to increase network speeds by 50%.
“[Verizon] did some cool marketing. And, I really can’t blame them for trumpeting LTE Advanced two years too late,” said Ray. “This is what they have to do with their older, slower network. Every couple years, they rebrand it.”
Verizon is still the clear leader in overall network performance, but T-Mobile’s bite is becoming more viscous and apparently more in line with its bark. A recent RootMetrics survey found AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile continue to gain ground on Verizon is overall network performance: reliability, speed, data, call and text.