Samsung's Galaxy Note II has been announced for multiple US carriers, but T-Mobile's version of the device contains an interesting surprise: hardware support for LTE. As noted by AnandTech, T-Mobile's variant is essentially the same hardware as AT&T's, including support for LTE. Of course, T-Mobile doesn't yet have an LTE network launched for the Note II to run on, but it does plan to have it by the end of 2013. The big question, then, is whether the Note II will support it — T-Mobile's answer is yes, but with caveats:
The Galaxy Note II features a Qualcomm 9215M chipset which provides the hardware capability to support both HSPA+42 and LTE. T-Mobile plans to reach more than 200 million Americans with LTE by the end of 2013. The Galaxy Note II will not automatically access T-Mobile’s LTE network. We will share more information on how and when the Galaxy Note II will support T-Mobile’s upcoming LTE network when the network is available.
In other words, while T-Mobile intends to make sure that the Note II will be able to use the company's LTE network once it launches, it won't do so "automatically," which implies that it will require a software update. As difficult as its been to get software updates on Android phones, that pales in comparison to the work T-Mobile needs to do to get the LTE network up and running. It's still committed to the $4 billion "challenger strategy," and MetroPCS's CDMA spectrum should help — but nevertheless it's going to be a long road. At least it will give users something to look forward to after they've paid that $70 premium for the Note II as compared to the pricing on other networks.