New reports are pointing to May 1 (tomorrow) as the official launch of T-Mobile's AWS 1700 MHz network in New York City. Some 20+ other cities will go live with T-Mobile's 3G network by year's end.Back in August 2006, T-Mobile won 1,700-MHz spectrum in the FCC's Advanced Wireless Services auction. Since then, it has been waiting for the federal government to clear those airwaves so it can launch a 3G network. It is badly lagging AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and others in lighting up a high-speed 3G network. Until now, it has relied on Wi-Fi to provide its high-speed services. By flipping the switch on its 1,700-MHz spectrum, that will begin to change.
The new information, coming from TMoNews, says that internal sources pegged tomorrow as the day T-Mobile will flip that switch. But there are some important things about the document to note. T-Mobile says, "In this early phase of our network evolution, 3G is a new technology for carrying wireless voice calls. Customers making a call on a 3G handset today in a 3G market will get the great call quality they've come to expect from T-Mobile and more network availability."
Right now, T-Mobile has four handsets in its lineup that support 1,700-MHz spectrum. The way I read this bit of info, calls made from those four handsets will no longer rely on T-Mobile's quad-band GSM/EDGE networks and instead switch to the newly available 1,700-MHz spectrum. This will add tons of capacity to the networks covered. Right now, T-Mobile needs this additional capacity in NYC, which is why it makes sense that it has been chosen as the launch market.
The documentation didn't say anything specific about any 3G data offerings, though, and I find that curious.
The other cities that will see 3G from T-Mobile are: Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, New England, N.J. and Long Island, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.