T-Mobile USA may have had a horrible fourth quarter while its merger with AT&T(s T) suffered its death throes, but the operator is definitely taking advantage of the aftermath. T-Mobile is using the breakup fee and spectrum it won from AT&T to funnel $4 billion into LTE. The 4G service will go live in 2013, but only after T-Mobile goes through a rather complex process of shifting its networks among its different bands.

The news emerged early on Thursday morning when T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, reported earnings, its first since its $39 billion sale of its U.S. operations to AT&T was canned. T-Mobile shed 802,000 net contract customers in the fourth quarter, which the company ascribed to huge competition from the new iPhone 4S(s AAPL). T-Mobile is now the only major U.S. operator without an iPhone to offer its customers, but it made do with the smartphones it…

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