Solavei, Ready SIM promise LTE support as soon as T-Mobile launches network
T-Mobile USA MVNOs Ready SIM and Solavei confirmed that they will start offering LTE service once T-Mobile launches its LTE network later this year.
Executives from the MVNOs told FierceWireless they expect to offer the faster speeds promised by LTE when T-Mobile turns on its LTE network. Emir Aboulhosn, senior vice president of business development for Ready SIM parent Roam Mobility, said that "as a T-Mobile MVNO, we get access to all network enhancements and upgrades, [and] this means that mean LTE is available we will offer it as well simply because it's there."
Solavei also confirmed it plans to offer LTE when T-Mobile does.
Ultra Mobile, another T-Mobile MVNO, did not confirm it will launch LTE service--but it strongly hinted at such a move. Chris Furlong, Ultra Mobile's executive vice president of product development, said the company is "always aiming to do what's best for our customers and will definitely consider LTE when it's possible."
However, it is unclear when the MVNOs will actually get access to LTE service, since T-Mobile indicated it has made no promises to the MVNOs. "T-Mobile has not made any commitments to MVNO partners regarding timing of when they may have access to T-Mobile's LTE network, and not all partners may receive access," the carrier said in a statement. "Our own plans have not changed. T-Mobile USA remains committed to launching LTE this year, and we expect to cover 100 million people by mid-year, and 200 million people by the end of the year."
The news is notable considering how few of the nation's MVNOs appear to be able to provide LTE service. Ting, a Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) MVNO, offers LTE smartphones. Another MVNO, FreedomPop, has said it will start offering mobile broadband service on Sprint's LTE network later this year. Both T-Mobile and Sprint expect to cover 200 million POPs with LTE by year-end.
At the end of the third quarter of 2012, the last quarter for which statistics are currently available, T-Mobile counted 3.9 million MVNO customers out of its total customer base of 33.3 million.
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Article updated Feb. 9 with a statement from T-Mobile.