T-Mobile: We're 'ahead of schedule' on CDMA-to-LTE MetroPCS migration
T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) touted its progress in getting subscribers from its MetroPCS brand off legacy CDMA service and onto its HSPA+ and LTE networks, saying that it is ahead of schedule in the migration.
However, T-Mobile said it continues to expect the full customer migration to be complete by the end of 2015, the same timeframe as when the companies announced their merger last fall. As it has in the past, T-Mobile noted that around 60 percent of MetroPCS customers upgrade their phones every year.
T-Mobile noted it is making HSPA+ and LTE compatible devices available to MetroPCS customers as well as allowing them to bring their own unlocked compatible HSPA+ or LTE phones. MetroPCS customers in Boston, Las Vegas and Hartford, Conn., can now purchase two new HSPA+ Android phones, the LG Electronics Optimus L9 and Samsung Electronics Galaxy Exhibit. MetroPCS has also started selling refreshed version of the Samsung Galaxy S III, which will make use T-Mobile's LTE and HSPA+ networks.
MetroPCS last week launched a bring-your-own-device service that supports GSM-based Android phones and specific versions of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. MetroPCS' new BYOD service is currently available in Boston, Dallas, Hartford, Conn., and Las Vegas. The company said it plans to expand to additional cities in the future. The program currently supports AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile iPhones, and the iPhone 5s from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). It also supports GSM-based Android phones and Windows Phone devices, but not BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) phones, tablets or mobile hotspots. Users will be able to choose from among MetroPCS' $40, $50 and $60 per month prepaid plans. The program essentially allows MetroPCS stores to activate devices onto T-Mobile's GSM-based network.
On the network front, T-Mobile has said it is on track to cover 100 million POPs with LTE by the end of June and 200 million by year-end. T-Mobile also said it combined its 1700 MHz AWS spectrum in Las Vegas with Metro's AWS holdings, giving users greater coverage depth and faster speeds. T-Mobile plans to do this in other markets as well. Additionally, T-Mobile executives have said the company now has more than 170 million POPs covered with HSPA+ service on its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum and is well on its way to covering 200 million by year-end.
T-Mobile plans to expand MetroPCS' brand to an additional 100 million POPs over the next six quarters, with the goal of using MetroPCS' brand and services to more effectively target the market for prepaid wireless service.
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