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9/1/2010
09:43 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Boston, Miami, San Diego, Others Gain T-Mobile HSPA+

T-Mobile has announced the latest round of cities to receive a wireless networking upgrade to HSPA+, which pushes mobile downloads to a theoretical max of 21Mbps.

T-Mobile's HSPA+ footprint has been steadily expanding across the U.S. this year. The latest batch of cities to gain access to T-Mobile's HSPA+ include: Boston, Mass.; Erie, Penn.; Fresno, Palm Springs and San Diego, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; Spokane, Wash.; and Topeka, Kan.

According to T-Mobile, HSPA+ now blankets 100 million Americans across 55 major metropolitan areas. HSPA+ is the 3.5G wireless broadband tech that T-Mobile is temporarily hedging its "4G" bets on. T-Mobile continues to market its HSPA+ as offering "4G like" speeds. While its HSPA+ often beats Sprints WiMax 4G network, HSPA+ is technically speaking not 4G. But hey, it's really fast, right? Wait, it gets better.

In a prepared statement, Neville Ray, chief network officer for T-Mobile USA, said, "Our new network offers today’s available 4G speeds to more people than any other wireless network in the country and we’re not done yet. We are now on pace to more than double our HSPA+ footprint -- reaching more than 200 million people by this year -- with plans to offer 42Mbps theoretical speeds in 2011." [Emphasis mine.]

HSPA+ does offer T-Mobile a lot of room for improvement, and its plan to double theoretical download speeds from 21Mbps to 42Mbps is key for it to fend off its 4G competition. In order to do that, T-Mobile has to hold up the other side of the equation and field handsets that are actually capable of reaching those speeds. It has yet to offer a single HSPA+ handset, though that it set to change shortly.

T-Mobile published a teaser Web site in July suggesting that its first HSPA+ smartphone is coming soon. "Soon" might mean this month (September). With T-Mobile's HSPA+ network footprint slowly expanding, September would be the perfect time to launch such a device.

Knowing that laptop users aren't the only ones who want the fastest broadband possible, HTC and T-Mobile look to be finalizing the G2 for its debut later this month. The G2 will succeed the G1, which was the very first Android phone. The G2 will be the very first Android and HSPA+ phone. Seems fitting.

According to information that came from a regional T-Mobile internal sales meeting, the G2 has a Qualcomm chipset on board, though the clock speed hasn't been locked down yet. The chip in question can range from 800MHz ro 1GHz. The device will run a stock Android 2.2 Froyo build, forgoing the Sense user interface overlay that HTC has favored for its Android phones.

T-Mobile hasn't confirmed when the device will launch, nor any details beyond the fact that the first HSPA+ handset will be a "smartphone."

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