T-Mobile Moves to 3G

Updated: The carrier's commercial UMTS service is expected to begin in mid-2007.

T-Mobile USA CEO Robert Dotson announced T-Mobiles move into 3G service at a press conference in New York on Oct. 6.

Dotson reported on the results of the companys recent spectrum auction win, including substantial space on the 1.7 and 2.1 GHz bands, and the expansion of available spectrum in the companys 1.9GHz voice bands. Dotson also announced the start of equipment deployment for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) data access.

Dotson said that T-Mobile has already started deploying equipment for its 3G service in some areas. New York City, for example, already has about half of its UMTS equipment in place. T-Mobiles commercial UMTS service is expected to begin in mid-2007, according to Dotson.

"We acquired enough spectrum in the 1.7/2.1 MHz bands to enable us to remain within two operating bands of spectrum—while our competitors must contend with three or more," Dotson said. This means that T-Mobile can deploy 3G services more easily and less expensively. Because 3G handsets will need fewer frequencies available, they can cost less. Dotson predicts that T-Mobiles 3G products will be about 30 percent less expensive than those of its competitors.

"Planning and execution started in 2004—one example would be Alcatel and its converged switching platform," Dotson said. He said there are many examples in which T-Mobile had begun readying the companys network for the new spectrum. "Finally, given this advanced planning, we have already completed 50 percent of the UMTS equipment rollout in New York," Dotson said. "In addition, we have been working with our major handset providers over the past 12 months to prepare products for deployment in the new spectrum band," he added.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read a review of T-Mobiles GPRS network.

Dotson said that T-Mobile USA would build on the "Web-N-Walk" experience implemented by T-Mobile International in Europe. "It allows us to continue leveraging T-Mobiles European experience and economic scale," Dotson said.

T-Mobile has more than doubled its average frequency coverage in the top 100 U.S. markets, according to a statement issued by Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USAs parent company. "We are aiming to maximize revenue market share in the U.S. and make T-Mobile USA the largest single company within the Group," said Kai-Uwe Ricke, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, at the press conference.

According to Ricke, Deutsche Telekom plans to spend 2.1 billion euros ($2.6 billion) on the 3G upgrade in the United States. He said that the 3G build-out will continue through 2008.

Dotson said that when T-Mobiles 3G data services roll out, starting in mid-2007, the company will be delivering speeds of 7.2M bps, which is considerably faster than the 3G offerings of its competition.

He also noted that with the recent spectrum auctions, T-Mobile has reached spectrum parity with the other national providers in the United States, making it possible for the company to ramp up its rate of growth significantly.

Ricke noted that T-Mobile has already started working with device manufacturers to provide access to the new spectrum.

He said the fact that T-Mobiles global customer base exceeds 101 million means the company has the ability to get products to market sooner and at lower costs than its competition.

He said that the new 3G devices already being deployed in Europe would start showing up in the United States by the time the service is available.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include more information from the news conference.

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...