T-Mobile USA adds 10 more HSPA+ markets; 42 Mbps speeds still on tap for mid-year

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T-Mobile USA Inc. (DTEGY) continued the expansion of its HSPA+ network with market launches in parts of Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois and Texas. The 10 new markets include Ames, Iowa; Anderson, Ind.; Battle Creek, Benton Harbor and Jackson, Mich.; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.; Lawrence and Manhattan, Kan.; Springfield, Ill.; and Wichita Falls, Texas.
The carrier said the offering now covers more than 200 million potential customers in 167 markets.
The service offering, which T-Mobile USA dubs “4G,” is based on the 21 megabit per second version of the HSPA+ standard that provides for theoretical download speeds of up to 21 Mbps. The carrier notes that speed tests conducted on mobile devices shows real-world download speeds of nearly 5 Mbps, with peak speeds approaching 12 Mbps.
T-Mobile USA noted at the recent CTIA event that it was planning to begin rolling out the 42 Mbps version of the HSPA+ standard this year with initial market launches expected in Las Vegas; New York; and Orlando, Fla.; followed by the launch in Chicago and parts of Northern New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y., later this year. The carrier said it expects to have the 42 Mbps technology covering 140 million potential customers in 25 markets by mid-year.
Analysts have noted that T-Mobile USA has garnered strong consumer mindshare of the “4G” branding space, which despite objections by many that question the currently available technologies rights to use the term, has began to gain traction in the minds of consumers.
Others have noted that by at least moving to the 42 Mbps version of the HSPA+ standard, T-Mobile USA can further legitimize its 4G marketing claims.
“T-Mobile’s upcoming launch of a faster 42 Mbps HSPA+ network further blurs the definition of 4G,” noted Weston Henderek, principal analyst of consumer services at Current Analysis Inc., in a recent report “This will help T-Mobile blunt some of the marketing advantage that Verizon Wireless is enjoying from the launch of its LTE network.”
T-Mobile USA’s network plans beyond that evolution are tied to the LTE standard, a move that is likely to be made in conjunction with AT&T Mobility, which announced last month a $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. AT&T Mobility has also begun to use the 4G term for marketing its HSPA+ services, though the carrier has not announced plans to move to the dual-carrier, 42 Mbps version of the technology.

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Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
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Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”