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Finally, T-Mobile Launches a U.S. 3G Network

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T-Mobile USA, the company known for its ultra-affordable voice plans, is launching its 3G Network in New York City, ushering in what we hope will be competition in the market leading to the lowering of 3G data costs for mobile phone users.

For now, the new UMTS/HSDPA network is available only in New York, but there are plans to roll out the network in other cities later this year. The company is being vague about in which cities it will launch the network. There are four handsets that can be used with this network: Nokia 3555, Nokia 6263, Samsung t819 and Samsung t639.

T-Mobile claims that AWS spectrum effectively doubles their spectrum and makes it easy for them to manage future growth. The network operates over 1.7 and 2.1 GHz bands. T-Mobile had spent a total of $4.2 billion in the AWS spectrum, and there are rumors that the company might look at buying even more AWS spectrum from Nextwave. We had reported earlier that Ericsson and Nokia were equipment suppliers for the network that was originally supposed to launch in 2007.

T-Mobile isn’t the first company to launch a network based on AWS. That honor goes to Stelera Wireless, an Oklahoma City-based rural broadband service provider that launched a much faster network in two Texas cities.

What this news means?

  • Over the long term, this is a great development because it gives us another 3G option. The current players: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have not gotten into price competition because the demand for mobile broadband has been strong. T-Mobile, being the late-comer is going to have to offer much cheaper packages in order to steal market share away from the big three. I think that would force the other three to respond. The same dynamics had played out in the voice market as well, so lets hope for an encore. Of course, all this is predicated on T-Mobile’s ability to roll out a nationwide network.
  • In the short term, the paucity of handset choices and limited network availability mean that it will be a while before people are going to seriously consider T-Mobile 3G as an option.

17 Responses to “Finally, T-Mobile Launches a U.S. 3G Network”

  1. man I just got 3g on tmobile susposedly turned on today, as it stealth launched in my local market a month ago and I finally caugt word of it. My hope was that my Nokia N95 NAB would finally have high speed data… but… NOPE! Verified the N95 will not work on tmobile 3g dang it!
    it’s quite ironic that the N95 NAB = N95 NORTH AMERICAN EDITION… if it wasn’t for the great deal on unlimited minuites offer I was given I’d drop t-mobile in a heart beat… Guess I’ll get the G2 after all Poor nokia – stupid tmobile! this is a all a dang ploy to keep us folks who like to buy unlocked phones from having their way when it comes right down to it…

  2. Mike Admans

    At last people here in the USA are noticing that we love to avoid global standards and keep ourselves
    in what most vendors view as a niche market.
    This has caused the USA to lag behind the rest of the world certainly in the mobile-telephony arena
    (and other things too) and the only explanation seems to be the mis-guided view that anything “foreign”
    must be avoided. There used to be a saying about “cutting of your nose to spite your face” I believe!

  3. John Gibson

    @Jeff Beck: The 2100 MHz that T-Mobile USA uses is not compatible with the typical 2100 MHz we see in the European (or dare I say, global) market. I believe the AWS 100/2100 is for downlink/uplink, different structure than all the others.

  4. Jeff Beck

    The question is, and remains, did they do this right in that you can use a handset that supports UMTS / HSPDA 2100, or do you need to buy a T-mobile handset that supports both 1700 and 2100. My guess is probably not. Which means that suck just as bad as AT&T who stupidly rolled their our in most markets on 1900. I mean how stupid is that.

    NO ONE IN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS EVER HEARD OF 1700, I mean this is crazy what the hell is going on here?

    If all this is true, the trend of screwing the US consumer will continue, and no one will know any different.

    The service should be available to UMTS 2100 only handsets right?

    Someone please tell me this is not just one big huge let down.

  5. Raymond Padilla

    T-Mobile is rumored to have the first Android phone, slated for release in Q4. I imagine it will want to have 3G coverage in most major cities by then.

  6. The key to whether this will drive down prices and increase the number of handsets available amongst the other carriers is how quickly T-Mobile rolls out to the rest of the US.

    If the past is any indication, It will be quite a while before T-Mobile 3G is rolled out countrywide though.

    But even with 3G being rolled out by all the major carriers, we still lag far behind Korea, Japan etc in terms of mobile broadband speeds, coverage and options. But even baby steps like these are a tep in the right direction.

  7. @Esme Vos

    b/c most likely the N95 you have only uses US version supporting WCDMA 850/1900 band, and does not operate on the 1700/2100 band that TMO is pumping now.

    I could be wrong. Can anyone clarify on this?

  8. I’m confused. You say that there are four handsets that can be used with this network (Nokia 3555, Nokia 6263, Samsung t819 and Samsung t639). You mean my Nokia N95 can’t use this 3G network? How can this be?