T-Mobile may still be the runt of the “big four” mobile carriers’ litter, but its recent bold moves — from merging with MetroPCS to ditching subsidies entirely to finally introducing the iPhone — have helped it pick up steam in the eyes of many consumers. Today, the company sought to continue that momentum with its CES press conference, where it gave an update on its promised new LTE network, unveiled a new unlimited data plan, and detailed its upgraded HD Voice coverage.
First, the carrier said that, although it has missed its original goal of rolling out LTE by CES itself, it does plan to cover 100 million people with LTE by mid-year, and over 200 million people by the end of the year. The new LTE network — which should see faster speeds and more reliable coverage than the company’s current HSPA+ 4G network — will first be rolled out in Las Vegas within the next few weeks.
No LTE-capable devices have been confirmed just yet, although multiple reports are suggesting that T-Mobile may enable the feature in the Samsung Galaxy S II through a firmware update, while The Verge is reporting that the company will launch an updated Galaxy S III to accommodate the feature as well.
T-Mobile also plans on improving voice quality for select customers by rolling out nationwide HD Voice calling. The service will only be available for users of HD Voice-enabled T-Mobile handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One S — and those users won’t be able to utilize the feature when calling those without HD Voice — but the boosted quality and lessened background noise should please the customers that do meet these requirements. The new nationwide coverage is available today.
Tomorrow, meanwhile, will mark the beginning of T-Mobile’s new Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan, now available without a monthly contract. The plan will start at $70 a month, which is the same as T-Mobile’s existing monthly contract plans. The carrier says that 46 percent of its new customers signed up for its unlimited data plan in December 2012, so it would appear that those calling the feature “dead” spoke prematurely. Here’s hoping competing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint take notice.
To help coax users into forking over the extra cash necessary to buy unsubsidized handsets for no-contract plans, the company also announced that it’ll be cutting the price of the mid-range LG Optimus L9 down to a more digestible $200.
4G continued to be on T-Mobile’s mind with the announcement of its new 4G Connect program, which will let customers use the company’s 4G network on select hardware partner’s ultrabooks, notebooks, and tablets. The HP Pavilion dm1 and Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook will be the first compatible devices, and customers can utilize up to 200 MB of free data per month for up to two years. Additional data can be purchased from T-Mobile starting at $10 per GB. This probably won’t be a “game changer,” but it seems simple enough, and could become handier as T-Mobile starts to roll out its zippier LTE network nationwide.
Finally, T-Mobile also revealed a new partnership deal with the MLB that will see the carrier provide communication systems in various stadium’s dugouts, among other things. Yay baseball.
Source: The Verge