T-Mobile Busts Out With 42Mbit/s Service
The Rocket 3 will cost $99 with a two-year contract and a data plan of 2 GB or more. Users can buy one outright for $199.
The upgrade will be switched on in cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans and San Francisco. It is already available in Las Vegas, New York and Orlando, although until now, users couldn't buy a device that exploited the full speeds offered by the network. (See T-Mobile Demos 42Mbit/s HSPA+ in NYC and T-Mobile Brings HSPA+ to 10 New Markets.)
Mark McDiarmid, senior director of engineering and operations at T-Mobile, says that all users will benefit from the additional capacity that the operator has put in to achieve this speed boost over its 21Mbit/s service. "The complete backward compatibility of what we're doing with 42 ... we think that's unique among 4G services," he says. (See 4G World: Faster 3G in US – Charting HSPA+.)
On the network side, the speed boost is achieved by pooling the capacity of two 21Mbit/s radio channels, doubling the maximum possible speed available.
In order to support the increased speeds on the network, T-Mobile went back to its fiber partners to provision more capacity for backhaul. It also added more radio infrastructure at the cell sites to support the change to a faster service.
T-Mobile's 21Mbit/s service offers average download speeds in the 5 to 8Mbit/s range with peak speeds exceeding 12Mbit/s. We don't know averages on the new service yet, but the operator claimed it was getting raw throughput of 20 to 30Mbit/s on a pre-production version of the Rocket 3 from ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) in January. (See T-Mobile's HSPA+ Rivals Clearwire, US LTE Speeds.)
A 42Mbit/s smartphone will follow by the end of the year, and a tablet would be "consistent" with its T-Mobile USA's broadband plans, according to Jeremy Korst, the operator's vice president of marketing.
All in all, the company has announced plans to deliver 25 4G-capable devices in 2011.
"There's much, much more to come," an obviously happy McDiarmid tells LR Mobile. He says that the company is "well on track to hit our mid-year goal" to have the new service hit more than 150 million people in the U.S.
Of course, T-Mobile isn't entirely ignoring the fact that larger rival AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is eventually expected to take over the company for a cool $39 billion. McDiarmid says the operator has worked to make the Rocket 3 compatible with the 3G frequencies that AT&T uses.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile