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T-Mobile and Ericsson hope to ditch 2G/3G, switch to gigabit LTE by 2019

Why it matters to you

Do you even remember 2G and 3G networks? T-Mobile certainly doesn't want you to, and is seeking an all-LTE future by 2019.

T-Mobile wants to leave the past in the past, and that includes 2G and 3G networks. At an Ericsson press conference during Mobile World Congress, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray spoke of T-Mobile’s all-LTE future, which could be happening as soon as 2019. T-Mobile and Ericsson are already joining forces to bring gigabit LTE to the Un-carrier’s customers, and as they invest more in this technology, they may be turning some other older tech off.

“By 2020, we’d love to have GSM turned down, if not before,” Ray said. “What do we do first, 3G or 2G? That’s primarily driven by what you can do on voice.”

Currently, around 70 percent of T-Mobile’s phone calls are made on voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), and all of T-Mobile’s newer phones support VoLTE. But of course, Ray doesn’t want to leave any customers who are still attached to their dinosaur handsets in the dust. That said, the CTO noted that the company will be looking at ways of getting their customers to make the switch to more modern handsets so they can provide more modern technologies across the board.

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“With handset refresh cycles, you look at 2019, and I think it’s an opportunity to move to an all-LTE network,” he said. T-Mobile certainly wouldn’t be the first to begin moving away from 2G and 3G. In fact, PC Mag points out, AT&T has already disabled its 2G network, and eliminating 3G could have far-reaching benefits. Ray noted that some of the spectrum used by 3G could be used for LTE instead.

“We found a very cost-effective and low-taxing spectrum methodology to run GSM for more time,” he said.

In the near future, however, Ray is focused on moving phone calls completely to newer networks. “I want to get that last 30 percent [of phone calls to VoLTE],” he said. Look out, 2019. T-Mobile is coming in hot.