T-Mobile: No 3G Data For Two Years

T-Mobile USA doesn't plan to offer 3G UMTS data services for two years.
T-Mobile USA doesn't plan to offer 3G UMTS data services for two years, a situation that will place the cell phone service provider behind its other rivals in the United States.

In the interim, T-Mobile plans to begin selling its EDGE data service, according to the Reuters news service, which covered the comments of the firm's CEO Robert Dotson and CFO Brian Kirkpatrick at a CSFB investor conference. T-Mobile, which is the fourth largest U.S. wireless provider, is a unit of Deutsche Telekom.

The largest wireless company " Cingular Wireless " began installing EDGE data service earlier this year through its AT&T Wireless unit. The second-largest U.S. cell phone provider is Verizon Wireless, which is in the process of rolling out its high-speed BroadbandAccess across its U.S. territory. BroadbandAccess, based on Qualcomm's CDMA technology, is an order of magnitude faster that EDGE.

The third largest player in the mobile data sweepstakes is Sprint, which recently announced it is investing some $3 billion in Qualcomm's high speed data service.

"Catching up is a relative term," said Michael Voellinger, wireless vice president at Telwares. "Voice is still the primary revenue driver in wireless. Data (speeds) may be important in 18 months." Voellinger expects to see cellular providers introduce many different content and applications once the data nets are in place.

In a related development, China's Huawei Technologies confirmed this week that it will supply a UMTS 3G network to Dutch mobile operator Telfort BV. Sources quoted in the European media said the deal could reach as high as $500 million.

Telfort has been installing an EDGE network, built by Telefon LM Ericsson as an interim data network. Telfort has said it will then move to UMTS and, after that, to High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA).

The contract award to Huawei represents the first major telecom infrastructure contract win by a Chinese company in Europe. Also this week, Huawei said it has won a contract to supply CDMA-based gear to U.S. carrier Cleartalk to serve subscribers in the El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz. While the contract is relatively small, it marks an early move by a Chinese company into the sprawling U.S. wireless market.

"Wireless is still the wild west in the U.S.," said Voellinger.

Editor's Choice
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Omdia
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer