This blog is by Riitta Siira from the Networks business of Nokia.
T-Mobile sets nationwide pulse with fastest 4G download speeds
T-Mobile has been enjoying remarkable success in the US with its fast nationwide 4G LTE network and Un-carrier™ customer offerings. At the start of 2012, the company teamed up with Nokia Networks to help enable its network transformation and modernization.
Nokia Networks began collaboration with T-Mobile US at the end of 2011, with the LTE roll-out scheduled to begin just six months later to provide nationwide coverage for over 200 million people by the end of 2013. A period of rapid development followed to deliver a new hardware solution to fit T-Mobile’s frequency requirements, followed by very fast network rollout and optimization. At the same time, the existing GSM and UMTS sites were modernized. At the heart of our customer’s business objectives was to serve existing customers with the same or improved experiences – this was not to be compromised.
Today, T-Mobile’s network boasts the highest LTE download speeds in America with an average of 19.2 Mbps with a 6.3 fold data consumption increase since the launch of their Un-carrier™ service offering.
Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile US confirms:
“We delivered our nationwide 4G LTE network months ahead of schedule, thanks in part to the strong partnership and expert support of Nokia Networks. What’s more, our nationwide 4G LTE network is the fastest in the US, which translates to a great experience for all of our data-hungry customers.”
How to keep the heart beating during network by-pass surgery
One of our experts compares live network modernization, roll-out and network optimization to by-pass surgery: You have to keep the network performance high although you operate on the core during optimization. The objective here was to stabilize the network as quickly as possible while maintaining or even improving the existing subscribers’ service experiences. Our network planning and optimization team committed to 30 Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to be met on site cluster level for all three technologies. The initial target was to have 90% of the sites achieving the same or better KPI’s post modernization. After 10 weeks, we delivered above the target, and the following 15-20 weeks saw over 95% of the sites performing in accordance with the targets.
A special task force was created to examine all the parameters affecting optimization – from hardware and software to device issues. As a result, changes were made to Node B software and new parameter settings were recommended, for example.
See what happened behind the scenes of the network optimization here:
Nationwide LTE capability delivered 3 months early
Deployment was ramped up quickly: By autumn 2012, over 4,000 existing 3G sites were upgraded and the first 40 LTE sites were online. By the end of 2013, Nokia Networks had built 5,700 new sites and upgraded and optimized over 15,000 existing T-Mobile sites for LTE. The goal of delivering LTE coverage nationwide by Q3 2013 was met three months early. Now, two years later, over 21,000 new LTE sites have been built and over 18,000 2G/3G sites upgraded and optimized to LTE.
Such a huge project required diligent project and roll-out planning, timely logistics, solid teamwork, and reliable products. Likewise, it required unwavering commitment to the defined KPI’s and T-Mobile’s goal of ensuring subscribers experiences remain unaffected.
Watch this video to learn more about the network project management practices and tools used:
T-mobile now serves 265 million people with LTE coverage
While Nokia Networks delivered the LTE capability, T-Mobile secured its own success by radically overhauling the way it deals with customers. Its market-challenging program of reforms is called Un-carrier™. Today T-Mobile offers the fastest nationwide 4G LTE network in the US, covering over 265 million people (source: T-Mobile Q4 Investor Factbook ) and boasting over 55 million subscribers with branded postpaid churn reduced to just 1.7%.
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