At the press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the nation’s fourth largest carrier announced that it is firmly committed to expanding and evolving its HSPA+ network for 4G for the next several years. However, according to TmoNews, like rival carrier AT&T, T-Mobile would be switching its 4G network to an LTE-based network, which would be the 4G technology used by AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the U.S. That said, the LTE 4G roll-out would be capped for just data, while voice and text messages would be sent over HSPA+.
The decision to operate data and voice on separate channels by T-Mobile mirrors Verizon’s plans for LTE. Initially, Verizon, like T-Mobile, will use LTE for data while using its 3G network for voice. Verizon Wireless, which has used CDMA and EV-DO-based technologies for its 3G network garnered the ability to do simultaneous voice and data by adopting LTE.
However, as LTE, at least during the initial phases of roll out, won’t be as ubiquitous as 3G HSPA, most likely voice calls would still be transmitted and received over 3G or 2G EDGE where available or needed. In Verizon’s case, if you step out of a 4G LTE coverage area, your calls will continue over 3G and data transmission would be suspended as the 3G CDMA technology employed by the carrier does nor allow for simultaneous voice and data.
TmoNews is reporting that LTE adoption by T-Mobile may begin as soon as 2013. AT&T has committed to HSPA+ as its 4G technology for the first half of 2011 at CES and the GSM-based rival will be transitioning to LTE as the 4G standard of choice in the second half of 2011 onward.