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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jul. 3, 2019 1 month ago

T-Mobile targets Longboat Key for LTE upgrade

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The mobile service provider included Longboat among dozens of North American cities and towns in its efforts.
by: Sten Spinella Staff Writer

Folks who use T-Mobile cell service in Longboat Key might have noticed improved reception recently.

Kaitlin Craig, a communications manager for T-Mobile, confirmed that the company recently upgraded its service on towers serving Longboat. Since late May, the towers have been operating with the Long Term Evolution (LTE) of 4G, a standard that speeds up data transmission and generally improves voice service. The upgrade in Longboat was apparently long-awaited, according to Craig.

“Our site in Longboat Key was a target for LTE upgrade for some time,” Craig wrote in an email. “Our engineering teams regularly evaluate the coverage and capacity-challenged areas in the network and determine the need for network upgrades or new sites. Customer and sales feedback is also taken into account.”

A typical upgrade, Craig said, involves the addition of new LTE service. T-Mobile added new equipment in addition to some software changes, Craig said.

This upgrade isn't connected to the town's public-private partnership that is designed to install a small-cell network from one end of the island to the other as part of a comprehensive program to bury aerial cables and remove utility poles. The publicly financed portion of the initial work — burying Florida Power & Light wires — is set to begin on the south end of the island this month. 

Brad Bilut of Longboat told the Longboat Observer his T-Mobile service is noticeably stronger of late. After “nine years owning a condo on Longboat Key,” his email read, “my signal has been nonexistent where I had to turn on WiFi calling on my phone.”

“I can tell you there is a night and day difference now and I no longer have to use WiFi calling with T-Mobile,” wrote Bilut, who lives in the 2000 block of GMD. “I get full signal strength in my condo. I can use my phone at my pool and the beach now. Most importantly I have a signal while driving down Gulf of Mexico drive.”

Longboat Key was among dozens of communities nationwide seeing uprades. 

An article posted on PhoneDog Media’s website reported that T-Mobile has instituted low-band and mid-band LTE upgrades during the past several weeks in dozens of North American locales. This includes two Florida locations beyond Longboat, portion of Tampa and the community of Reddick, north of Ocala.

Sten Spinella is a Town Hall Reporter for the Longboat Observer. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and his master's degree from the University of Missouri. 

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