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T-Mobile to Sunset MetroPCS's CDMA Network by 2015

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Uh oh...

carmodboy99

Oct 3, 2012, 11:40 AM
So versus just running all the way with VoLTE it seems like MetroPCS in its new TMO skin will be abandoning their CDMA 1X network (about 92% of their customer base still) in exchange for GSM/HSPA+ network with LTE data support... No mention of the VoLTE roadmap they've been on, and if they chose not to follow even that newly chosen path, then they're alienating 100% of what made them successful, in exchange for a failing network... (scratching my head) Eh?
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Slammer

Oct 3, 2012, 12:22 PM
I'm with you 101% on this Carmodboy. This merge smells of failure. Shame on Sprint's board members for turning away this opportunity months back. Dan Hesse called it and they didn't. That merge would've been far more sensible. Both have same technology, same outline for LTE and the most important is that Sprint has the experience in running expanded Prepaid MVNOs. The transition would've been cake.

John B.
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vikes0115

Oct 3, 2012, 2:44 PM
It doesn't say anywhere that they are giving up on VoLTE. Long term that is the logical path, and is completely unrelated to maintaining or abandoning the CDMA network.

The CDMA network is only relevant in the decision of if they will be converting the GSM over to CDMA in the short run, convert the CDMA to GSM, or run parallel incompatible networks. Clearly the worst option is to run two networks instead of one.

In picking between CDMA and GSM the choice of GSM is an easy one. When you look at the combined customer base of T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers the customers currently on GSM will outnumber those on CDMA by more than 3 to 1 due to T-Mobile's much larger customer base. Also weighing in GSM's favor over CDMA is the favorable...
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carmodboy99

Oct 4, 2012, 1:04 AM
Right, though its not as though LTE isn't mentioned either, they mentioned the LTE data coverage they will gain without so much as a whisper toward VoLTE.

As customers upgrade in the short run, the idea is to immediately and exclusively sell them GSM/HSPA+ model phones offered via TMO. Again, not specified, but I imagine that they continue to sell the VoLTE MetroPCS models as well, though with no immediate coverage map growth, who's gonna buy those?? As it is I believe Metro is only supporting the technology in 6 markets? With nationwide coverage offered for a GSM phone, why would you go VoLTE and limit yourself? Either way, until 2015 the idea is to run parallel networks, with a COO salary allotted for each of them. Not to mention ...
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srich27

Oct 4, 2012, 7:58 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but VoLTE phones are just LTE phones with the added ability of pushing voice data over that network...? Wouldn't they then be able to just merge the VoLTE roadmap with TMo's LTE rollout that's supposed to start happening next year?

Or is that something that requires specific tech on the LTE towers to facilitate? Seeing as TMo hasn't built any towers yet, one could see them simply then building VoLTE towers as part of their plan rather than the stock LTE towers they may otherwise have used.
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vikes0115

Oct 4, 2012, 9:30 AM
There's one other part you're missing here.

MetroPCS isn't going directly to VoLTE because it wants to be a pioneer in that technology, rather it didn't have sufficent spectrum prior to this purchase to run both the CDMA voice network and the LTE data network. So their road map was to launch VoLTE migrate voice from the CDMA network to VoLTE, sunset the CDMA network, and use that spectrum to increase their LTE capacity.

Now they have plenty of spectrum. They can now keep voice on GSM/HSPA+ and leave LTE (for now) purely for data.

Long-term they can then migrate to VoLTE (which every carrier will inevitably do) and then expand LTE capacity by using the current GSM/HSPA+ spectrum.

This is a long-term process because of the huge a...
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carmodboy99

Oct 4, 2012, 1:48 PM
The point is that Metro HAS gone to VoLTE, whatever their reason for doing so was, its a done deal. They have VoLTE handsets that they're pushing. So then to scrap the concept ( even if it was necessity based from the start) and the customers who use it currently will result in that much more alienation of their subscriber base. No upgrade path for your current device/service never inspires warm fuzzy feelings about your carrier.

Srich27 Essentially its just a matter of a few tweaks on existing equipment, no major changes required. However, MetroPCS has since day 1, as vikes pointed out for the sake of the spectrum crunch, allotted their LTE coverage almost exclusively for VoLTE coverage, and so on Metro's LTE network you barely pull ...
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vikes0115

Oct 4, 2012, 2:15 PM
I doubt there will be much alienation of the customer base. Your average customer doesn't care if they're using VoLTE, CDMA, GSM, HSPA, or magic... if the call goes through, its clear, and they can get service where ever they want to use their phone, that's the extent of what the average person cares about their voice calls.

Only people interested in the intricate technical aspects care about it being VoLTE, and frankly those people are about as far from MetroPCS's target customer as you can get.

Like you said, VoLTE is bringing Metro's LTE network to its knees because of the lack of spectrum. For 99.999% of Metro's customers; getting a new phone, having a larger native network with full speed data access, having their data speeds in...
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Jarahawk

Oct 4, 2012, 7:49 PM
Tell it. This is like manna from heaven for Metro. They were wandering in the wilderness barely eeking out an existence and then BAM! T-Mobile falls in their lap like a naked stripper.
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carmodboy99

Oct 5, 2012, 10:37 PM
They have a segment of their subscriber base that they convinced to go with a phone (VoLTE unit) that didn't even have coverage across their existing footprint on the promise that it would soon. those customers could have gone with the more versatile CDMA units, but they didn't for a reason. To not only break the promise of future coverage but also stop supporting their phones altogether is bound to leave some with a bad taste, I know it would leave me with one. Having been both subscriber and employee of MetroPCS I can tell you firsthand that you have the deal seeking crowd, and the fugitive element that come in, and there are a lot n the deel seekers that look for a flashy techy phone to brag to their friends about. VoLTE being the new ...
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Jarahawk

Oct 4, 2012, 7:43 PM
"Also weighing in GSM's favor over CDMA is the favorable roaming agreement T-Mobile picked up from AT&T when their merger fell apart."

Please this is the icing on the cake. Why would T-Mobile (run by Metro) give up the chance to have a robust National footprint? VoLTE is not dead. Metro can still transition all of T-Mobile's customers to LTE eventually. That IS the whole point of VoLTE after all. At the end of the line neither CDMA nor GSM will survive.
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