T-Mobile’s longstanding reputation is for great prices and bad signal. But as recent reports have shown, the network is making big strides in catching up to Verizon’s industry-leading coverage, and the gap looks like it’s going to be nonexistent by the end of the year.
Buried in T-Mobile’s earnings report yesterday were two maps showing T-Mobile’s coverage. One shows the current coverage across the US, and the other shows where T-Mobile is planning on being on December 31st, 2017.
As the map shows, T-Mobile is planning on plugging big coverage gaps that currently exist, particularly in areas like Montana, Wisconsin and West Virginia. The end result is a map that has more magenta and fewer white holes, which should help T-Mobile poach more of Verizon’s rural customers.
In addition to the coverage improvements, T-Mobile is also planning to aggressively use new technology to improve connection speeds. In particular, it’s promising to keep pushing voice over LTE (VoLTE), which allows it to repurpose spectrum from slower 2G and 3G speeds to LTE.
Of course, Verizon won’t be standing still during all of this. All the carriers are pushing ahead with research and testing of 5G network technologies, promising theoretical gigabit speeds. There’s also an ongoing sale of new spectrum through the FCC, which could dramatically change the landscape depending on which networks end up with the all-important new spectrum.