updated 12:05 pm EDT, Mon March 18, 2013
Software update pushed to Galaxy Note II enables LTE
T-Mobile will be activating its 4G LTE network in the United States by the end of this month, according to reports. An over-the-air update is being sent to Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphones to activate the LTE radio in preparation for the LTE turn-on, which is expected to be at the same time as the BlackBerry Z10 becomes available through the carrier.
The update to the Galaxy Note II will take a few weeks to appear on all subscriber devices, with the last phones receiving theirs just as the network switches on. Executives speaking to CNET confirmed the turn-on by the end of the month, specifically to coincide with the Z10 launch, though it was not revealed which markets would see it activated first. The Galaxy S III LTE is also expected to launch on T-Mobile around that time.
Speed tests conducted on a closed LTE tower showed it could reached a download speed of 60Mbps and an upload of 15Mbps, though under near-ideal conditions. Real-world performance is expected to be lower, but since it appears that T-Mobile is limiting LTE to its more high-end devices, the earlier adopters are likely to find more than adequate capacity for their mobile needs, at least until more devices are set up to use it.
The impending merger of T-Mobile and MetroPCS was green-lit by the FCC last week, with the Commission believing that the combined company would speed LTE deployment and build a stronger and faster national network. The final milestone for the merger are the shareholders, who are collectively set to receive $1.5 billion in cash and a 26-percent share in the merged company, if the deal is approved.