T-Mobile may have spent much of last year in an awkward tug of war between AT&T and federal regulators, but it's now "in fighting shape" and "better than ever," executives said in a Jan. 11 news release from the Consumer Electronics Show, where it announced an expansion of its HSPA+ 21 and HSPA+ 42 4G technologies, an extension of its Bobsled Messaging feature and the upcoming availability of its newest 4G devices, most notably the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G.
The Blaze 4G will be the third smartphone able to leverage T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 technology, which is said to offer twice the speed of its standard 4G (HSPA+ 21) network.
T-Mobile's extensive news from the show included:
- The Android-running Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, which will arrive "later this year." On the T-Mobile site, interested parties can sign up to be alerted when a date is set. T-Mobile hasn't shared pricing yet, but in addition to being HSPA+ 42 compatible, the phone will feature a 1.5GHz dual-CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor, a Super AMOLED touch screen, and the ability to stream movies and TV at super-fast speeds. "We mean fast," T-Mobile officials added in their statement.
- In 12 markets, T-Mobile upgraded its 4G network from HSPA+ 21 to HSPA+ 42. It also rolled out HSPA+ 21 in nine brand new markets, extending 4G speeds to an additional 200 million people and bringing its 4G grand total to 217 markets.
- The Nokia Lumia 710 will be available from T-Mobile as of Jan. 11. The first Nokia Windows Phone to arrive in the United States, it'll retail for $50 after a $50 rebate and with a two-year service agreement.
- When T-Mobile introduced free Bobsled calling through Facebook last April, it promised additional capabilities were coming. At CES, T-Mobile execs announced they have arrived. Its Bobsled Messaging app is now available in the Android Market and enables free, cloud-based group or individual messaging to any Android-based smartphone or tablet, regardless of carrier. Also improved is the Bobsled Calling service, which lets users place free WiFi-based calls-though standard data rates apply-to WiFi-enabled devices, including Android phones and tablets and the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- T-Mobile has also been busy in the cloud. Among its offerings are the MobileLife Album, a service that lets customers upload, back up and store to the cloud photos and videos taken on their phones or tablets. Its T-Mobile TV premium service has also proven a hit, with executives sharing that the service has grown more than 700 percent-presumably since its launch-with tablet owners twice as likely to upgrade from the free to paid service.
During the months that AT&T defended its desire to purchase T-Mobile, both parties described T-Mobile, with its limited funding from parent company Deutsche Telekom, as having stalled 4G prospects, with Long-Term Evolution (LTE) an untenable hope. Moving forward, executives seem determined to put a new face on things.
"Our goal is to deliver amazing 4G experiences at a great price," Brad Duea, T-Mobile senior vice president, said in the statement. "We deliver these compelling and optimized 4G experiences by bringing together a fast network, smart devices and leading innovative applications and services."