T-Mobile CTO: Hurricane Sandy delayed some 1900 MHz HSPA+ launches

CHICAGO--T-Mobile USA was forced to delay some deployments of HSPA+ technology in its 1900 MHz spectrum due to Hurricane Sandy, said a senior executive.

T-Mobile's CTO Neville Ray told attendees at the 4G World trade show here that the company has completed 95 percent of the refarming of its 1900 MHz spectrum for HSPA+, and will launch a series of additional markets before year-end. T-Mobile has already launched the service in Las Vegas and Kansas City. "We would have talked more about those markets today, but Hurricane Sandy made it not feasible," Ray said. Ray made his comments via a video feed from T-Mobile's headquarters in Seattle, where he stayed in order to handle any network issues as a result of the storm.

T-Mobile released a statement Wednesday that its network engineers are working to restore service to areas impacted by the storm. The carrier said its network in Washington, D.C., is more than 90 percent operational and its network in New York City is more than 80 percent operational.

Interestingly, Ray also showed a video that he said T-Mobile plans to release to the public in the next week. He said the video is intended to "set the record straight" on T-Mobile's planned acquisition of MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS), which the company announced in September.  

Ray narrates the video and explains that the merger is a migration of customers, not an integration of networks. He explains that MetroPCS customers can migrate onto T-Mobile's network and that since 60 percent of MetroPCS customers upgrade their devices every year, he estimates this will be done by the end of 2015. In addition, he said that T-Mobile is planning to improve the mobile experience for MetroPCS customers, including those that want advanced LTE devices. He closes the video by saying that two companies are better than one and the acquisition will increase customer choice. T-Mobile USA didn't immediately respond to questions about where this video will be aired and what audience it is targeting with the message.

Nevertheless, it is interesting that Ray is taking such a high-profile role in communicating details of the acquisition to the public. This is typically a role reserved for the CEO. Of course, Ray is no stranger to the limelight. He has been overseeing a rapid modernization of T-Mobile's entire network operation over the past seven months as the operator prepares to roll out LTE in 2013. In addition, T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere called Ray a "rock star" during a conference call with the media to discuss the company's planned merger with MetroPCS. "This is a rock star. This is a real network genius, and he's known in the industry, and what he's been doing in the refarming and setting up of LTE already is one of the things that's made this deal possible," Legere said.

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