Network shutdowns are a way of life in the wireless industry, as technologies evolve and advance, and one era gives way to the next. Wireless carriers have been shutting down legacy networks for more than a decade and the shuttering will continue this year.
T-Mobile US said that as of Friday, 190,000 customers on its MetroPCS prepaid brand still had phones connecting to MetroPCS' legacy network, which was turned off on Sunday as T-Mobile completed the final market shutdowns in Dallas, Miami and New York City.
T-Mobile US now covers 280 million POPs with LTE, according to CTO Neville Ray. The carrier had pledged to reach that coverage goal by the middle of this year, and thus appears to have reached that goal earlier than expected.
T-Mobile US plans to shut off the legacy CDMA network of its MetroPCS prepaid brand on June 21, earlier than expected. The carrier still needs to shut down the CDMA network in three major markets.
AT&T Mobility said it will need to wait until it deploys Voice over LTE nationwide to support CDMA voice roaming on its 700 MHz spectrum.
Sprint MVNO Ting Mobile reported that the number of accounts and devices attached to its service effectively doubled in 2014, to a total of 94,000 active accounts and 147,000 active devices at the end of the year. While the numbers are relatively small in the context of the larger wireless industry, the company's growth is noteworthy in that Ting is one of the few U.S. MVNOs that publicly reports its subscriber numbers.
Sprint MVNO Ting is adding support for GSM service and will launch SIM cards that can be used in unlocked GSM phones. Although Ting is not saying which U.S. GSM carrier it is working with, a coverage map provided by the company of its GSM partner indicates that it will be partnering with T-Mobile US.
Thanks to an exclusive partnership between FierceWireless and network testing firm RootMetrics, readers will be able to see how the carriers are progressing in terms of network deployments by technology on a region-by-region basis. Special report
Thanks to an exclusive partnership between FierceWireless and network testing firm RootMetrics, readers will be able to see how the carriers are progressing in terms of network deployments by technology on a region-by-region basis. RootMetrics conducted extensive testing across the country both in the first half of 2014 and in the third quarter to gauge how the four Tier 1 carriers were stacking up in terms of network deployments.
Wireless carriers have always battled with each other to encourage customers to switch to a new carrier. But that fight is now starting to heat up in select markets across the country because of a confluence of network shutdowns, technology transitions and smaller carriers exiting the business. Although these market-by-market battles don't get much national attention, they're still worth watching--after all, millions of subscribers scattered across dozens of markets are up for grabs.