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Summary:

T-Mobile today announced the first three cities that will see 42 Mbps mobile broadband service, as well as the first device that can fully leverage the faster network. A mobile broadband hotspot, three USB data sticks, and the new T-Mobile G2x handset are coming this spring.

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The latest T-Mobile news may have been focused on the AT&T’s plans to purchase the carrier, but that isn’t stopping T-Mobile with its network expansion plans for 2011. Today, the company announced the first three cities that will see 42 Mbps HSPA+ mobile broadband service: New York, Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida. This trio will be soon joined by Chicago and areas surrounding New York City area including Long Island and Northern New Jersey.

To complement the network upgrades, the carrier is also announcing new devices: handsets, a mobile hotspot, 4G USB dongle and a tablet.

The T-Mobile G2x (pictured) joins the currently available Samsung Galaxy S 4G and upcoming Sidekick 4G. LG is building the handset for T-Mobile, which will run Android 2.2 on a dual-core 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 chip with an 8 megapixel front camera. The device, similar to the LG Optimus 2x, also includes a front-facing camera above the 4-inch touchscreen display.

For laptop users, T-Mobile will offer the Rocket 3.0 later this spring: a 42 Mbps USB data stick, built by ZTE. Tomorrow the carrier will launch the Jet 2.0 data stick and will follow that up with the Rocket 4G for prepaid use. Both the Jet and Rocket use 21 Mbps radios. ZTE is also building a 21 Mbps 4G Mobile Hotspot, capable of sharing its mobile broadband connection with up to five devices over a Wi-Fi connection.

The carrier is also preparing, but not yet announcing availability of, the LG G-Slate tablet it introduced last month. The Honeycomb tablet uses an 8.9-inch display capable of displaying 3D images without the use of any glasses. A dual-camera on the back of the G-Slate captures 3G images and videos as well. T-Mobile isn’t sharing additional tablet details but notes that it will be pre-installed with T-Mobile TV, Need For Speed SHIFT HD, and Zinio’s magazine reader application.

My testing of T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network has shown fast network speeds and low latency, but Verizon’s recent LTE launch has leap-frogged the service. According to the T-Mobile presentation I attended at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, the carrier said its testing of the 42 Mbps HSPA+ network compares favorably to Verizon’s LTE performance. Once we get some devices on the upgraded network, we’ll see if that claim still holds true.

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  1. All the cell carriers are tripping over themselves to get faster and faster speeds – in major cities only. There is a point where ‘faster’ isn’t very noticeable on a phone.

    I’m 7 miles out of town and got 1.5Mbps on my Captivate (at&t) and now get 1.0Mbps on my EVO (sprint).

    Cell carriers, build out, not up.

    1. Excellent point that I can relate to. From my rural home office, I can’t get 4G service from any national carrier, so even to test these services and devices, I have to drive into town. From the carrier’s perspective, it makes financial sense to invest where the most customers (or potential customers) are, but my hope is that we see more rural development out of the AT&T / T-Mobile deal as AT&T has claimed will happen.

      1. Won’t all these T-Mobile devices be reduced to EDGE speeds if the merger goes through and AT&T repurposes T-Mobiles 3G spectrum? Who would buy one given that eventual obsolescence?

        1. Kevin C. Tofel Nick Tuesday, March 22, 2011

          Agreed, but there’s talk of handset upgrades for consumers on T-Mobile when this happens. What that will cost (if anything) remains to be seen, but I’m sure the FCC will be looking heavily at that aspect.

  2. They should make all new devices pentaband 3G and then the customers don’t have to worry about when AWS goes dark. Not everyone is on contract or wants a carrier branded device instead of their “open” device. If people start asking “will this device work on HSPA networks after the AT&T merger” and they say “NO, it will be slow, slow EDGE” they will stop being able to sell things that will be obsolete. I heard that the USB stick and the cellular modem inside the Dell that T-Mobile sells are both pentaband 3G so they have some and are getting more, but it needs to be the norm not the exception from now on.

  3. Mobile Development Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    I think the deal will bring more and more improvements to T-Mobile coverage as AT&T is the largest mobile carrier in the United States.

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