Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS announced earlier this week that they've entered into an agreement to merge T-Mobile and MetroPCS here in the U.S. Shortly after it was made official, MetroPCS and T-Mobile laid out what they believe the benefits of the agreement are, including a wider handset selection for MetroPCS customers thanks to the move to GSM. Now another piece of information about the merger has come out that may get any Metro folk that are still on the fence about the deal to get behind it.
T-Mobile has told PCMag that, so long as the transaction between the two carriers goes through, MetroPCS customers will be able to use T-Mobile's LTE network in addition to Metro's own LTE network. T-Mobile's LTE network is expected start going live in 2013. At that point, MetroPCS and T-Mobile will be operating two separate LTE networks, and current LTE-capable Metro phones will be able to "authenticate" onto T-Mo's network. It's not yet clear if T-Mobile devices will have access to Metro's LTE network. T-Mobile said that the two separate LTE networks are expected to be combined into one some time in 2014.
While T-Mobile's LTE network is still kind of a ways off, especially since we don't know exactly when the first markets will be going live, this news is still exciting for MetroPCS customers that already have an LTE-capable handset. Of course, it's worth noting again that this deal still has to be approved by the usual regulatory bodies before any of this can happen. It's expected that the transaction will be completed in the first half of 2013, but it's been rumored that Sprint may be considering making a counter offer for MetroPCS, which could throw a bit of a wrench in T-Mo and Metro's plans. For now we'll just have to wait and see how the situation plays out.