T-Mobile promises LTE Advanced 'features' this year

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) plans to deploy some LTE Advanced features later this year, but isn't saying which ones. The news underscores the difficulty in tracking the rollout of LTE Advanced technology, which is more of a collection of features and functions rather than a complete network technology.

"We'll begin rolling out LTE Advanced features later this year," Dave Mayo, T-Mobile's senior vice president of technology, strategy, finance and development, said at Light Reading's Backhaul Strategies for Mobile Operators event in New York City on Tuesday.

T-Mobile's LTE network uses Release 10 specifications, which is a prerequisite for adding LTE Advanced features, buy Mayo was coy about what exactly the carrier will do.

The LTE Advanced includes a number of features, including carrier aggregation, self-optimizing capabilities, enhanced inter-cell interference coordination (eICIC), and advanced MIMO antenna technology.

T-Mobile has promised to cover up to 200 million people with its LTE network by the end of the year.

Other carriers, however, are not standing still on LTE Advanced. In an interview with FierceWireless, Bob Azzi, Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) senior vice president of networks, said "we've already got some of the LTE Advanced features" as part of pre-loaded software on Sprint's LTE network, which the carrier claims will cover 200 million POPs by year-end. He said Sprint has different kinds of features that are on its roadmap and will be deployed, but he declined to specify which ones and when. Sprint has said it has already deployed "four-branch MIMO and SON features" on its LTE network.

Meanwhile, SK Telecom has rolled out what it claims is the world's first LTE Advanced network with a commercial smartphone ready for use with the service, a Samsung Galaxy S4 capable of using carrier aggregation techniques. In addition to carrier aggregation, SK Telecom intends to deploy coordinated multipoint (CoMP) technology and also will launch eICIC in 2014. For more, read this FierceBroadbandWireless article.

For more:
- see this LightReading article
- see this FierceBroadbandWireless article

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