T-Mobile trumpets re-farmed 1900MHz spectrum with HSPA+ launch

T-Mobile USA has introduced HSPA+ technology in Las Vegas using its re-farmed 1900MHz PCS spectrum making the city the first full market where the cellco has reused the frequencies.

Speaking at GigaOM’s ‘Mobilize’ conference last week, chief technology officer Neville Ray announced the move, describing the launch as a ‘showcase’.

Spectrum re-farming is a key component of the cellco’s USD4 billion network modernization scheme. T-Mobile plans to use its 1700MHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE) while it re-farms its 1900MHz spectrum for HSPA+ use. Cities poised for HSPA+ connectivity are thought to include Seattle, Washington, DC, and the New York City metro area. The carrier plans to launch LTE next year.

Regarding the shift towards LTE, which is expected to take place in 2013, Ray said that T-Mobile is looking to deploy 10×10MHz channels across 90% of the top 25 US markets at launch. The carrier is working with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to deploy LTE Release.

T-Mobile USA’s network upgrade plans continue to gather pace after the company reached an agreement with tower owner SBA Communications to extend lease agreements on approximately 2,800 cell sites. The seven-year extensions also allow for upgrade the towers with radio equipment related to the carrier’s upgrade plans. The extensions will generate approximately USD5 million in site rental revenues and approximately USD1 million in adjusted EBITDA for 2H12. The agreement follows a similar July deal with Crown Castle, which extended the existing leases on 7,300 Crown Castle sites for a further ten years, and granted T-Mobile rights to upgrade certain towers. T-Mobile USA’s network currently spans some 37,000 cell sites.

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