T-Mobile days away from launching LTE in Las Vegas, Kansas City to be next

T-Mobile USA will launch its first LTE market in Las Vegas any day now. The operator originally planned to launch LTE in Las Vegas last week during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show but that plan was delayed due to some last-minute tweaks that were needed on a few cell sites. During an interview at CES, T-Mobile USA EVP and CTO Neville Ray told FierceWireless that the Las Vegas market "is coming on real fast" and will likely launch very soon.

Ray added that T-Mobile's launch in Las Vegas will be followed quickly by a launch in Kansas City. He also hinted that the company's LTE market launches will follow a path similar to its 1900 MHz HSPA+ launches. With HSPA+ in the 1900 MHz band, T-Mobile launched Las Vegas first, followed by Kansas City; Baltimore; Houston and Washington, D.C.

The carrier has been deploying HSPA+ on its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum (which was previously reserved for slower speed GSM service) partially in order to supply HSPA speeds to iPhones. The iPhone does not support the AWS bands that T-Mobile uses for HSPA. T-Mobile now has 100 million POPs covered with HSPA+ on 1900 MHz, and has said 170 million will be covered by mid-2013 and 200 million covered by the end of 2013.

As for LTE, T-Mobile will cover 100 million people with its LTE network by the middle of this year, and expects to cover 200 million POPs by the end of 2013. The carrier will offer the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II as some of its first LTE devices.

In the interview, Ray also touted the company's launch of nationwide HD voice service. T-Mobile launched HD voice in the company's HSPA/UMTS footprint, which covers 200 million POPs. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) currently offers HD voice on its LTE network. At the end of third quarter Sprint had 32 LTE markets live and 200 markets under construction.

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