Is it possible that the nation’s fourth largest carrier could have the largest footprint with the fastest network by the end of 2010? According to executives speaking Tuesday at a T-Mobile USA press conference, that’s exactly the goal for the Bellevue, Wash.-based carrier.
Both Neville Ray, senior vice president of engineering, and Cole Brodman, senior vice president of product development, were on hand for the event, which culminated with a demonstration of T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network upgrade and all the fancy new devices that will run on it.
Ray got things started with a few stats on where things are at as far as the T-Mobile network is concerned. He said that T-Mobile is prepared to roll out the upgrade to over 100 metropolitan areas, which will cover over 100 million POPs, by the end of the year. Half of those upgrades will be completed by mid-year.
“We may have come a little late to the party,” Ray admitted, “but we’re catching up very very rapidly.”
Ray went on to say that HSPA+ is fully capable of offering “4G-like” speeds and performance, citing recent third-party testing that showed average speeds that exceeded even Clearwire’s WiMAX service. First rolled out in Philadelphia, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ upgrade is now live in Las Vegas.
Brodman went on to make the case for HSPA+ exceeding the performance of 4G, saying that not only will T-Mobile’s network be as fast as LTE or WiMAX, but customers will have a much richer set of devices available. Handsets have been slow in coming for even WiMAX.
Brodman introduced the audience to the new Dell Mini 10 netbook with T-Mobile webConnect and also announced that the Nokia Nuron, HTC HD2 and Motorola Cliq XT smartphones will all be available today.
Brodman said that T-Mobile had held back on offering netbooks until now because the company wanted to be sure the network was ready. Given the high-bandwidth devices the carrier will be inviting onboard – the HTC HD2 is one of the fastest, most media laden devices on the market – the carrier is betting heavily that all will go as planned with the HSPA+ rollout.