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As Android Nears, T-Mobile Boosts 3G Networks

The wireless carrier said it will have 3G networks in 21 markets by mid-October, and 27 markets by the end of the year.

T-Mobile announced Thursday it would be expanding its 3G services to multiple markets, just in time for the launch of the first Android handset.

The wireless carrier currently has 3G service in 13 markets and said that number will increase to 21 by mid-October. Overall, the carrier plans to have 3G networks in 27 markets by the end of the year.

"With the faster data speeds delivered by our 3G network, T-Mobile looks forward to offering mobile products and services that place the full power of the Web in our customers' hands," said Cole Brodman, T-Mobile's chief development officer, in a statement.

The expansion seems to be in lock-step with release of the first Android handset, which will be officially announced Sept. 23, and it's expected to be available in October. The phone, which is being called the HTC Dream or G1, is a highly anticipated because many are curious to see if the Android platform can achieve its goal of bringing the "openness" of the Internet to the mobile market.

Google recently introduced the Android Market, a competitor to the App Store where Android users can find, download, and rate mobile applications. But many of these applications won't be able to access their full potential without a high-speed mobile Internet connection.

The wireless carrier spent over $4 billion in a 2006 FCC auction to acquire the spectrum necessary to implement a nationwide 3G network. Earlier this year, T-Mobile began rolling out its UMTS/HSDPA network, but so far it has only released one new 3G phone.

The wireless carrier currently has mobile broadband service in Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, and San Diego. By mid-October, it should expand into Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Seattle.

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